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Where the Pi^asmodium I^urks, . Frontispisck 

Bii^r^Y IN Vii^LAiNOus Meditation, ... 38 

A Matter of Fact Subject, .... 42 

A Child Study in Ebony, 46 

An Isthmian Police Force on Duty Bound, . 50 

A Row of Isthmian Pickaninnies, ... 52 

View of The Panama Canal near CulEbra, . 54 

CuLEBRA Cut — Panama Canal, .... 56 

Sea Wall, Panama, 64 

Corner of the Cathedral Plaza, Panama, . 66 

St. Dominic and its Venerable Bells, . . 68 

Cathedral, Panama, ...... 70 

Spanish-American Interior, .... 76 

Central- American Coffee Barges, . . . 104 

Off Guard, 112 

Palm Thatched Dwelling, Acapulco, . . 118 

The Old Fort, Acapulco, 120 

An African-IvIKE Scene, 122 

Proud of His Catch, ...... 126 

An Incipient Romance, . . . . . . 128 

Cathedral, Mazatlan, 130 

A Youthful Factory Hand, 132 

Me Too, Quoth the Mule, .... 134 


His Lk>ad Was Not I^ight, 136 

Bare-I^bgged Studies in Brown, . . . 138 

Mt. Tamai^pais and the Bow Knot IvOOp, . . 154 

A lyiTTi^E Merchant and a Yei^i^ow Terror, . 160 

Tabi^e Mountain, on the Stanisi^aus, . . . 174 

Where my Wori,d Began, . . . . . 180 

lyOOKiNG Down the Tuoi^umne, .... 182 

Ah Bing, Arrayed in His Best, ... 184 

An Oi<d-Time Tuoi^umne Filacer, . . . . 186 

A Rewc of Former Grandeur, . . . 188 

French Tom of Tuoi^umne, 190 

French Tom's Ferry at Stevens' Bar, . . 194 
Scene on the Tuoi^umne River, near Jackson- 

vii,i.E, 200 

Ah Fook, 202 

View Down Tuoi^umne Canyon from the Bridge, 208 

A Primitive Mii^i,, 212 

A Genti<e Pioneer, . . ... 214 
Tuoi^UMNE Canyon, Yosemite Road and T01.1, 

Bridge, 216 

I^EARNiNG THE Ropes, 250 

One of the most delightful memories of my boy- 
hood days is of a trip from California, the land of 
my nativity, to New York City, via the Isthmus of 
Panama. When, in pursuit of a much needed rest, 
I determined to take the vacation that was long 
past due, the opportunity of revisiting the scenes 
that had made such a profound impression upon 
my boyish mind in those halcyon days when the 
sky was full of rainbows, was too tempting, and 
so, a Httle over a year ago, I started for Panama. 
Needless to say, the rosy illusions of childhood 
were dispelled by the coldly critical eye and less 
susceptible sensorium of the man. But, discount 
those childish memories as I might, there was so 
much of interest upon the trip that I felt im- 
pelled to write about it on my return. Alas ! there 
was so much to be said that I knew not where 
to begin. Then, too, my impressions were ap- 



parently insusceptible of crystallization, perhaps 
because my brain was tired when they were re- 
ceived. Whatever the explanation, no writing 
was done. 

A year rolled by, and the vacation microbe again 
became active in my system. "Where shall I go 
now ?" I asked myself. And my conscience queried, 
"Why not go across the Isthmus of Panama to 
California again, and write that book you were 
contemplating?" Now, I didn't care to repeat 
that particular trip. After twice escaping the dan- 
gers of Panama it did not seem wise to tempt 
Providence further. But, being ashamed of my 
inability to formulate the impressions of the pre- 
ceding year, I finally resolved to do the thing all 
over again. And so, this book is merely a mat- 
ter of conscience, its motive being, therefore, above 

This is not a book of travel in the ordinary sense. 
The reader will seek in vain for those data and 
statistics which most travelers consider necessary 
to completeness of the chronicles of their itiner- 
raries. The volume contains merely the impres- 
sions of a dilettante observer, gathered in the pur- 
suit of the rainbow fancies that memory brings 
from the days of one's childhood. 

What I have to say about California, involving, 
as it does, a comparison of the old and the new 



in the most romantic portion of the state, may- 
have some features of novelty to many. The 
characters that are introduced here and there are 
real. Those who have passed "The Great Divide" 
were my boyhood's friends, those who are yet liv- 
ing I know well, but it would require a pen far 
abler than mine to do them justice. 

Would that I knew them as well as did my 
father, who is dead and gone. There were none 
among the Argonauts of '49 who were sturdier 
than he, none whose lives were more replete with 
the arduous toil of the pioneer and the dangers 
and hardships of the early days of "The Golden 
West." As for my mother, the history of her 
experience en voyage to California, and for some 
years after her arrival in that then far-off land, is 
a veritable romance. 

My mother's family emigrated from Kentucky 
in '51, and made the long and dangerous journey 
to California across the plains. She was but a 
child, and the events of that trip were so stirring 
that it is not surprising that her memory of them 
is vivid. Harassed by hostile Indians and sub- 
jected to innumerable privations, the marvel was 
that the family ever succeeded in reaching its 

And the entry into California was by no means 
a triumphal one. About four days' journey from 


the California line, the escort of eight men which 
my grandfather had employed deserted in a body, 
taking with them the bulk of the provisions and 
suppHes. A few dried apples constituted the 
pabulum of the family for the remainder of the 
trip. Had the leader of the escort, my mother's 
cousin, survived, the desertion would not have 
occurred. He, poor boy, was drowned in the 
Platte River on the way. 

The supply of horses gave out long before Cal- 
ifornia was reached. Several valuable animals 
were bitten by rattlesnakes, others were stampeded 
and stolen by the Indians. Most of them, how- 
ever, were killed by drinking alkali water on the 

My mother was fond of horseback riding, and 
resolved to still enjoy her favorite amusement. 
A side saddle was accordingly put upon the family 
cow; she mounted, and, regardless of conven- 
tionalities, rode her fiery steed during the re- 
mainder of the journey. Her novel entry into 
California was a nine days' wonder throughout the 
mining camps. Sooth to say, modern society, and, 
most of all, our modern young ladies, would con- 
sider such an ordeal not only formidable, but bad 
form. But there were giants in those days of the 
Argonauts, and sensi'ble, unpretentious folk they 



I will not apologize for the cursory and col- 
loquial character of the notes and sketches con- 
tained in this volume. I have merely endeavored 
to take the reader with me on my outing. He must 
see things with my eyes, and I fancy he will enjoy 
the trip none the less for the absence of any flavor 
of cut-and-dried analysis in its description. It is 
the true dilettante, after all, who sees all things 
beautiful as they should be seen — who sees them 
true. The beautiful, the esthetic, and, for the mat- 
ter of that, even the novel and grotesque, are none 
the more entertaining for being placed under the 
eye and pen of the hard-hearted analyst. Yes, 
'tis the dilettante who gathers the flowers in Life's 
Garden — 

Sipping the wine of life as honey sips the bee, 
He floats on rosy clouds above the callous throng, 

Delving for gold at the root of the fairy tree 

And hearing not mid the leaves and blooms the song 
Of that wondrous bird — the Soul's Delight. 

O, thou art of living well and ever living, 
'Tis truly all of life and happiness to soar 

Above that hard, cold ambition, ever giving 

The dross and gnawing discontent of earth — no more- 
Burrowing mole-like in endless night. 


WAS very tired, there's 
no doubt about that — 
tired of practice, tired 
of teaching, and, worse 
than all, tired of my- 
self. As to the cause, 
that's another question 
— which, by the way, is 
still open. To be 
sure, there was that attack of la 
grippe, but I suspect I caught that 
^p" interesting microbial omnibus just 

because it was fashionable, and 
because I was envious of several 
of my doctor friends who were convalescing from 
it. I presume that I could have borne up under 
the load of envy had T not seen them drinking 
milk punches, P. R. N. ; which means literally, 


Panama anb tbe Sierras 

with us doctors, whenever the patient requires it. 
My friends' symptoms being many and their de- 
mands large, la grippe seemed to me an al- 
together blissful disease — so I caught it. But I 
reckoned without my stomach, which betrayed my 
confidence, and received all too unkindly the bland 
gustatorial overtures of the milk punches. Thus 
foiled in my efiforts to be kind to myself, I went 
to the other extreme and decided to consult a col- 

The first gentleman whom I approached on the 
subject of my health, told me that, in his opinion, 
I had been working overtime — "between meals." 
This made me mad, for I had had a whole week's 
vacation, only twenty-two years before, so I con- 
sulted another and wiser doctor. In fact, after 
having made the start, the consultation habit be- 
came firmly fixed upon me and I consulted a large 
number of other and wiser men, each wiser than 
his predecessor — a matter of auto-estimation on 
the part of each. Consultations became a source of 
infinite pleasure. I acquired a mania for them. 
The man who had no new ideas regarding my 
"Weary Willie" feelings lost caste with me. I 
built up a little coterie of wiseacres who seemed 
a part of me, and whom I exalted far above ordi- 
nary doctors — men who had no malaise and no 


/»!? Dauabti? Consultants 

novel opinions thereon. Had all my consultants 
been housed in the Columbus building I should 
have organized a private consultation club, but, un- 
fortunately, several of them were denizens of other 
and less pretentious buildings. I knew that the 
"Columbians" were too exclusive to affiliate with 
plebeian consultants. Seriously, I never dared let 
those haughty fellows know that I had consulted 
any of their humbler brethren. Not being a diplo- 
mat, nor desirous of being professionally ostra- 
cised, I felt that I must keep in touch with the 

Why are the "Columbines"* so haughty? Well, 
that's debatable ground. My own opinion is, that 
it is because they are so literary. Some time ago 
the landlord found that his tenants were playing 
"mumblety peg," whilst beguiling the tedious 
hours between patients. Objecting to the result- 
ant chipping of the mosaic floors, yet realizing 
that his tenants must not be allowed to die of 
ennui, the kind-hearted man founded a free library 
for them. In that library may be found everything 

*It is only fair to state that the official name adopted 
by my friends over the way, is "Columbiad." This 
nomenclature is ill-advised, for, while they do make a bit 
of noise, it is true, they are not all "big guns." 


Panama anD tbe Siettas 

necessary to cloy the most capricious literary ap- 
petite. No effort has been spared to make it a 
success. Even the lady librarians are fair to gaze 

And the efforts of the philanthropic landlord have 
not been all in vain. The library is well patronized. 
I have seen as many as two doctors at once, poring 
over the works of reference. The librarians say 
that they are at times over-worked. They are often 
compelled to chase around all over the building, 
hunting for publications that the doctors have 
taken out and forgotten to return. I understand 
that during the past year several copies of Puck, 
and Judge, and the Ladies' Home Journal were lost 
in this way. One of the librarians told me the 
other day that she no longer permitted Texas Sift- 
ings to be taken out by anybody, and was going 
to stop subscribing for Godey's Magazine alto- 

But why should intellectual development pro- 
duce hauteur in the "Columbagos ?" 

i^ 4^ *^ 

And I was proud, and my pride was not without 
foundation, for had I not neurasthenia, spinal irri- 
tation, lithemia — seventeen varieties — hepatic tor- 


XWlbi? f %ctt Dome 

por, auto-intoxication — all forms — gastro-motor- 
insufficiency, dilated cardia, cardio-muscular ex- 
haustion, renal inadequacy, morbus Brightii, nerv- 
ous dyspepsia, and a few other things, the names of 
which escape me? 

I will not expatiate upon a kaleidoscopic taste 
in my mouth, probably contracted from accidentally 
swallowing a chameleon while in the army, "way 
down in Floridy." 

Oh, yes, I was proud. No man could be prouder 
and live. God help the laity ! It can^t wallow in any 
such diagnostic wealth. We doctors can not only 
luxuriate in a wealth of diagnostic profusion, but 
are privileged to select the diagnosis that pleases 
us best. But my medical advisers all said, "Get up 
and get !" "See," said one fat, protoplasmic friend 
of mine, "what rest has done for me," displaying 
the while an embonpoint that would grace our 
board of aldermen. He is a rest specialist, and 
a very dear friend of twenty years' standing — and 
some years' lying. And so, I packed my trunk and 
made ready to get up and get. And straightway 
I got — down with appendicitis, forsomuch as 'twas 
the only disease my anatomy did not already enter- 
tain. Which is how I finally escaped manifold con- 
sultations, for, by the same token, I had the real, 
venomous, awe-inspiring, fearsome, fashionable 


IPanama an& tbe Sierras 

thing this time, and there was no room for con- 
flicting opinions ! Oh, yes, appendicitis has some 
redeeming features. 

And when I recovered I was persecuted beyond 
endurance, by my surgeon friends. In my daily 
walks they dogged me. In my nightly dreams 
ghostly aseptic fingers clutched at mine ileo-cecal 
region. The mad, chilly February winds shrieked 
a dismal wail of reproach in mine aflfrighted ears — 
for I had permitted myself to be treated conserva- 
tively, and 'twas a traitorous and ignoble thing 
to do. 

Treated conservatively ! Well, I should remark ! 
I had never received such varied and enthusiastic 
internal medication since those infantile days when 
a virtuous and philanthropic maiden aunt — the 
most unmarried woman I ever knew — was wont 
to ornament my Department of the Interior with 
Perry's Pain Killer, and such alluring agents of 
death. Oh, she was a doctor to the manner born ! 
She it was who discovered that hive syrup was 
good for the hives. She was then in her dotage 
and had developed homeopathic leanings, which, 
being pathologic, should be condoned. 

And so, my burden became greater than I could 
bear, and I fled, ingloriously fled, to the raging 


H ColD 3Beginn{nQ 

main, hoping that perchance I might lose mine ap- 
pendix in the throes oi mal de mer, and thus be- 
come rehabihtated in the esteem of my colleagues. 

4^ *- A^ 

I had determined to seek a clime, where perspira- 
tion is cheap and lithia salts at a discount. Cali- 
fornia, via the Isthmus of Panama, seemed to ful- 
fill these special indications. Unfortunately, how- 
ever, it was necessary to pass through New York 
to get to my point of embarkation. "But," quoth 
I, "who cares for that, in these days of Pullman 
cars and such things ? Who cares for that beastly 
old blizzard that's raging down there, anyhow?" 
Did you ever get "stalled" in a blizzard, my dear 
friend ? If not, you might have reasoned as I did, 
but not as I reason now. I have been there. 

It was evident that New York had resolved to be 
inhospitable especially for my benefit. There had 
been no great fall of snow in that region for over a 
decade. Those who remembered the last severe 
snowstorm were already beginning to consider 
themselves old inhabitants. But, by all the gods, 
the elements made up for lost time on this occa- 
sion! Never was a convalescent more diabolically 


Panama anb tbe Sierras 

entertained. It was blowing great guns and snow- 
ing avalanches by the time Albany was reached. 
An extra locomotive made progression possible for 
a time, and the prospect of getting through seemed 
bright enough, despite the newspaper accounts of 
the serious effects of the storm on other roads, 
when, "all on a sudden," the blizzard opened a post- 
graduate course, attendance upon which was com- 
pulsory. The result was that the West Shore rail- 
road ceased operations then and there, and the ill- 
fated train upon which I started for a vacation 
came to a standstill near Haverstraw, about forty 
miles from New York City. Now, the scenery of 
the Hudson River is very beautiful in the proper 
season, but, viewed from a train stuck in a snow- 
bank, with a blizzard howhng about one's ears, it 
is not a vision of delight nor conducive to equanim- 

After a futile effort to move the train a brilliant 
idea struck the conductor. He reasoned that al- 
though a heavy train of sleeping coaches could not 
get through, a train of day cars should have no 
difficulty in doing so. We luckless ones were there- 
upon transferred, bag and baggage, to a day coach 
on a local train that happened to come along. All 
went well for about three miles, when, "slumpety 
slosh!" into a snowbank we went and — ^there we 


Bastern Ibospttaliti? 

stuck. One engine after another was added to our 
motive power until four had been impressed into 
service, but to no purpose — we were evidently 
doomed to remain stuck in the snow until the 
spring thaws should free us, or until the railroad 
company was pleased to send a snow plow up the 
road. What a delightful time we had, to be sure. 
For thirty-one hours we remained in that snow- 
drift, apparently forgotten by the railroad com- 
pany and everyone else ! Aside from a few crack- 
ers and a small quantity of corned beef that had 
seen better days, the passengers had nothing to 
eat during the entire blockade. Had such an acci- 
dent happened on a western road, anywhere near 
human habitations, some effort would have been 
made to relieve the passengers' discomfort. Not 
so there ; not a soul appeared on the scene to offer 
assistance or even inquire as to our necessities. 
The people of the neighborhood actually refused to 
sell food to those of the passengers who were ven- 
turesome enough to face the storm in quest of it. 
The railroad ofificials might, at least, have made 
an effort to secure food for us, but, probably be- 
cause they held us responsible for the stoppage of 
the train, they failed to materialize. The steam 
ran pretty low because of scarcity of water, and, 
taken all in all, the outlook for a worn-out doctor 


Panama art& tbe Siertas 

just arisen from an appendicitis bed, was not prom- 
ising. Of course, I expected a relapse from the 
exposure. But a peculiar combination of circum- 
stances saved me. There happened to be a the- 
atrical company aboard — barnstormers, I fancy — ■ 
en route for New York. I don't know what their 
histrionic ability may have been, but their good- 
fellowship was unquestionable. They were well 
supplied with mysterious cockle-warming liquids 
to keep off chill, and, to our delight, fur- 
nished us non-histrionic passengers with a variety 
of caloric that made us quite thankful that the 
steam was low. The heavy villain was in love with 
the leading lady, and their soft dalliances gave lis 
one continuous sentimental clinic for the entire 
period of our imprisonment. As the pert sou- 
brette was jealous of the leading lady and both 
were red-headed, we soon forgot the storm — 

"Blow high, blow low, not all its snow. 
Could quench our hearth fire's ruddy glow." 

Within two hours we had opened all the ven- 
tilators to the full, and by midnight were offering 
to trade our overcoats and sealskin sacqiies for 
snowball sandwiches. Even my appendix vermi- 
formis absorbed some of the rosy-hued romance 
of the occasion and quit its Usual grumbling. 

1 JBCQin to XTbaw 

Is it not fortunate that all things disagreeable, 
like all things pleasant, always have an ending? 
The snow plows came at last, and we were free 
once more. 

How dismal New York seemed to me. Snow, 
snow, snow, snow everywhere, piled up as high 
as the tops of the street cars. What a reception 
for a man bound for the tropics! RecalHng my 
feelings on that occasion, I remember that I had 
but one ambition in life — 

"A boat, a boat, my Kingdom for a boat !'* 

*^ A^ J^ 

Ho, for the tropics ! 

How irksome and uncomfortable were my over- 
coat and woolens about the fourth day out from 
New York, and with what joy did I present mine 
old overcoat, of the vintage of — oh, Fm ashamed 
to tell — to my cabin boy. And with what hilarity 
did I "shuck off" my heavy flannels — two suits, 
an' it please you, my lords and gentlemen — and 
begin my cold salt showers o'mornings — and Feb- 
ruary mornings at that. In very truth, the great 
Gulf Stream is a stream celestial, and its warm 
trade winds are breathed forth from Paradise. 


S. T. R. » 


IPanama an^ tbe Siertas 

Just think of it, only four days since, I had been 
mixed up with the business end of a blizzard, and 
there I was luxuriating in sea baths and summer 
clothing! The officers of the ship became re- 
splendent in white duck and canvas shoes, and 
the waiters and cabin boys were so happy that they 
lost their "how I hunger for a tip" expression. 
Mind you, they only lost the hungry facial expres- 
sion. There was no perceptible change in their 
appetites. As for myself, I — well, I forgot my 
patients, aye, even the lancinating memory of mine 
appendix was lost in the dreamy haze of that semi- 
tropic sea. 

i^ *- *^ 

Azure above and below, by day, dusky violet be- 
low and a diamond-bespangled violet dome above, 
by night — he who fares through the Gulf Stream 
must needs be soulless indeed, if he be not o'er- 
whelmed with its manifold beauties. 

He who, in his quiet study, reads Lafcadio 
Hearn's description of the emotional effect of vivid 
blue upon himself, full surely will fail to grasp 
that most gifted author's meaning. Let him, how- 
ever, with Hearn's descfription fresh in mind, sail 
through the Gulf Stream, and he will understand, 


H Sensuous JSCue 

even as I — who then comprehended not at all, from 
my own psychic experience, the relation of color 
to the higher emotions — at once understood. 

Quoth Hearn:* 

"In my own case the sight of vivid blue has al- 
ways been accompanied by an emotion of vague 
delight — more or less strong according to the lu- 
minous intensity of the color. And in one expe- 
rience of travel — sailing to the American tropics — 
this feeling rose into ecstacy. It was when I be- 
held for the first time the grandest vision of blue 
in this world — the glory of the Gulf Stream. A 
magical splendor that made me doubt my senses — 
a flaming azure that looked as if a million summer 
skies had been condensed into pure fluid color 
for the making of it. 

"The captain of the ship leaned over the rail 
with me, and we both watched the marvelous sea 
for a long time in silence. Then he said : 

'* 'Fifteen years ago I took my wife with me on 
this trip — just after we were married, it was — and 
she wondered at the water. She asked me to get 
her a silk dress of the very same color. I 
tried in ever so many places, but I never 
could get just what she wanted till a chance took 

*" Azure Psychology— EJxotics and Retrospectives." 


Panama anD tbe Siettas 

me to Canton. I went round the Chinese silk 
shops day after day, looking for that color. It 
wasn't easy to find, but I did get it at last. Wasn't 
she glad, though, when I brought it home to her? 
She's got it yet.' 
"Still, at times in sleep I sail southward again 
over the wonder of that dazzling, surging azure. 
Then the dream shifts suddenly across the world 
and I am wandering with the captain through 
close, dim, queer Chinese streets, vainly seeking 
a silk of the blue of the Gulf Stream. And it was 
this memory of tropic days that first impelled me 
to think about the reason of the delight inspired 
by the color." 

4^ > > 

And the blue of the Gulf Stream is not all, say L 
Seaweeds, in modest brown and tan and orange- 
red float silently by on their way to the place 
where the Gulf Stream meets the cold, inhospit- 
able waters from the north. One can almost see, 
in fancy's eye, the seaweed drifting on and on, 
dreamily, softly, lazily riding the almost ripplelesa 
sea, until it halts, shudderingly, at the margin of 
the frigid waves that bound, like a frame of chill, 
the genial way of the life-giving tropic stream. 


j^reeses 6t SSalm 

And color is not all. Breezes laden with balm 
and scent of spice, warm and sweet and caressing 
like the breath of the maid who loves you — breezes 
burdened with the glow and warmth of far-off 
vales, lying all resplendent 'neath the mystic glim- 
mer of the southern cross — breezes gentler than 
the whisper of a well-beloved child — 'breezes that 
waft perfumes sweeter than those of "Araby the 
Blest" — breezes that cajole, thrill, soothe, capti- 
vate, aye, enslave one in a tangle of sensuous emo- 
tions — ah ! it is well to have lived and tasted of 
their supernal joys. 

Once more engrossed in the corroding cares of 
the land of work-a-day, I am wont to conjure from 
memory's treasure-house a vision of blue, a balmy 
breath of spice and a sensuous thrill of gentle, 
tropic warmth that make my hours of dreams more 
beautiful than of yore. 

*- A^ *- 

I never appreciated the advantages of being a 
doctor, until I enjoyed the fact witho-ut the distinc- 
tion. The doctor who is in search of recreation 
and rest must conceal his profession, or his rest 
will be broken and his recreation slavery. Then, 
too, one learns so much from the laity. When, 
for the first time in my life, I, who considered my- 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

self proof against the ocean qualms, became most 
ingloriously, but none the less emphatically, sea- 
sick, I must have appealed strongly to the sym- 
pathies of my fellow passengers. At least, they 
prescribed for me with great persistency and in 
variegated forms. I soon discovered that we doc- 
tors do not appreciate the laity as we should. The 
profession has no specific for sea-sickness, but I 
will make affidavit that no less than forty infaUible 
cures v\^ere tendered me by my advisers. I meekly 
accepted them all, and, when my collection was 
complete, dumped the whole lot overboard one fine 
morning. As I threw the stuff astern, and the 
ship's log was very "wabbly" that day, the con- 
clusion forces itself upon me that there was great 
virtue in those remedies. In passing, let me re- 
mark that my fellow passengers evidently did not 
believe in stimulants for sea-sickness — at least they 
did not give me any. Which was not regular, and 
may account for my prodigal offering of drugs 
and simples to Neptune. Poor old Nep! I re- 
venged myself upon him by the infliction of greater 
miseries than mal dc nier. 

The advisability of the medical man's concealing 
his identity while on a vacation, was later most 
forcibly impressed upon me by my experience in 
a small town in California. My attention hap- 
pened to be called to a child, evidently suffering 


%a^ XTbetapeutics 

from some naso-pharyngeal trouble. My sym- 
pathies were aroused and I made an examination. 
Finding a pair of enormous tonsils, I recommended 
a trip to San Francisco, for the purpose of con- 
sulting a throat specialist. As a reward for my 
philanthropy I was overrun with patients of one 
sort or another. I suddenly blossomed out into 
a speciahst in diseases of the head, trunk, and ex- 
tremities. I was, for the nonce, an expert in every- 
thing from tic doloreux to bunions. To illustrate 
the confidence I inspired and the esteem in which 
I was held by those simple village folk, the follow- 
ing breakfast-table conversation between a fellow 
boarder at the little "hotel" and myself is not in- 
appropriate : 

''Say, mister, be you a doctor?'* 

"Why, y-yes, I am." 

"Well, say. Doc, do you know anythin* what'll 
cure catarrh in th' head of a boss? I've got a 
little sorrel mare that I'd give some feller a hun- 
dred dollars ter cure, spot cash." 

Which was a "horse on me," sure enough. 

I again recommended a specialist, although the 
novelty of the "spot cash" argument almost 
tempted me to — well, anyway, I put temptation be- 
hind me and fled to the hills. And so, my "Frisco" 
specialist friends, if you have been over-burdened 
with practice lately, I am responsible for it. You 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

may send me express orders for my commissions. 
Of course* you'll give the usual liberal "divvy." 
Fifty per cent is the established rate among real 
high-toned Chicago doctors, and I couldn't take 
less, you know, not even tho' I didn't "assist" at 
the operations. Pshaw! I'm getting sea-sick 
again ! 

A^ i^ *^ 

"The Pearl of the Antilles !" The "Sapphire of 
the Antilles," rather. Small wonder that our Span- 
ish friends objected to losing the fairest jewel in 
the Castihan crown. 

The sun was just setting, as our matter-of-fact 
old steamer rounded the eastern end of Cuba. It 
were difficult to imagine a fairer picture than the 
varying lights and shades of that beautiful island 
as I then saw it. At the extreme northern angle 
a line of reefs and jagged rocks gave a vicious 
beauty to the shore line. Then came a long stretch 
of surf-beaten sands, shading ofif into a gently 
sloping upland, which, to the distant eye, seemed 
covered with verdure. Not a sign of human habi- 
tation or human handiwork was to be seen for the 
entire stretch of coast, save a lonely lighthouse 
and, some distance further south, a luckless 
steamer that had gone ashore in a gale some week§f 


H Sappbire ot tbc Seaa 

before. Abandoned and, granting that she was 
well insured, forgotten, she lay upon the reefs, the 
surf boiling about her sides and eroding its re- 
morseless way to her shivering ribs, and the winds 
whistling a lonesome dirge amid her slack and di- 
lapidated rigging. So desolate was the scene 
that 'twas hard to beUeve that only a few miles 
away, upon the southern side of the island, Samp- 
son's guns, a few short months before, had 
boomed the death knell of fairer and stauncher 
ships than that poor old trader. 

Straight up from the fair, sloping upland rose a 
long line of low hills, a terraced formation that 
miglit well pass for a cleverly-devised and well-con- 
structed fortress. Should occasion ever demand. its 
fortification, the eastern end of Cuba could easily 
be made well-nigh impregnable. Behind the ter- 
races towered range after range of grandly beautiful 
mountains, cloud-crowned and bathed in the rose- 
red and gold of the setting tropic sun. Over all 
was a purple haze that imparted to those terraced 
hills and majestic mountains a tinge as of a sapphire 
bathed in flame. 

4^ >^ *^ 


Panama anD tbc Sierras 

Of all the two-faced frauds that nature ever con- 
structed, the Caribbean sea is the worst: "How 
beautiful it is !" quoth he upon whom it hath 
deigned to smile. ''How sick I was!" cries the 
luckless wight who hath traversed its blue waters 
when the "trades" were blowing adversely. I 
knew just how it would be. My fellow passengers 
had enlightened me from all possible standpoints, 
hence I was prepared — with a palm leaf fan and an 
extra supply of remedies for sea-sickness, and so 
I was not surprised to find the Caribbean glassy 
smooth and as blue as the azure seas of which 
all poets sing. 

The scent-laden trade-wind was blowing gently 
from off shore. Balmy and sweet the breeze, as 
'twere a breath from out the gates of a garden of 
odorous blossoms. We were miles and miles from 
the nearest shore when land birds of varied and 
brilliant plumage began to alight upon the ship. 
Poor little storm-tossed waifs ! The trade-wind 
had not been gentle for long, and, blowing off the 
land, had wantonly kidnapped the feathered strays 
and borne them far out to sea. What tales of hard- 
ship and privation they might have told. While 
wondering how their feeble wings could have kept 
the birds out of the maw of the hungry sea for 
so long, I was fairly startled by what one might 


H Uarrp IRaconteur 

have thought an apparition — a gorgeous, many- 
hued butterfly, that came floating leisurely along 
as though out on a holiday in gala attire. The 
magnificent wayfarer would not condescend to 
alight on the ship. He seemed astonished at first, 
by the unexpected intrusion of human kind upon 
his pleasure paths, then, with a resentful flutter 
of his beauteous wings, flew up and up, above 
the bridge, where he hung vibrating until the un- 
sentimental officer on watch made a grab at him, 
when he whirled contemptuously away toward the 
open sea and was lost to view. Frail little crea- 
ture, what was thy fate? Was it bird, or fish, or 

*- >^ *- 

Not the least picturesque feature of my vaca- 
tion days was the bluff old mate of the sturdy 
Petrel. A rough sea dog of the old regime was 
he, weather-beaten and to the manner born. "Old 
Bill," the sailors called him, ''off watch" and out 
of the stern old fellow's hearing, "Mr. Hoskins, 
sir," when addressing him directly. As I am off 
watch and he cannot hear me. Old Bill he's going 
to be. 


IPanama an& tbe Sierras 

Bill was as gay and blithesome a liar as one could 
wish to meet, but he had a talent for story-telling 
that appealed to my sympathies, hence I greatly 
appreciated his yarns, from the statement that he 
had been "to sea for nigh on forty years, an' never 
learned to swim,'' to his blood-curdling yarns of 
his narrow escape from a Spanish man-of-war that 
was laying for that same old Petrel during the 
recent war. As the affair was a stern chase and 
the Petrel got clean away, the story was a reflection 
on the valor of the American navy. The Petrel 
couldn't steam over nine knots an hour to save 
her engines, and if a Spanish cruiser couldn't catch 
her, Sampson, Schley & Co. deserve mighty little 
credit for destroying Cervera's old tubs, anyhow. 
Patriotism impels me to believe that Bill, as usual, 
was lying. 

It is not often that a moldy, antiquated, worm- 
eaten ''chestnut" of a story is worthy of remem- 
brance just because it is a chestnut, but Bill told 
such a one. I was wont to listen to all of his yarns 
very attentively ; I had heard and read much of the 
yarns spun by men who "go down to the sea in 
ships," and was anxious to add some to my reper- 

"So, ye want another yarn, do ye. Well, mebbe 
ye never heard this one, 'Twas about a boy that 


H SaIte^ Cbestnut 

run away ter sea. He went all 'round the world 
an' was gone away from home a long time. When 
he got home again, his old mother asked him ter 
tell her some of the funny things he'd run across 
in his travels, Well,' says he, 'I've run across 
some mighty queer things. Why, mother, down 
in the West Indies where I was last spring, on a 
ship in the sugar trade, I saw a country where 
there was mountains all made of sugar. Windin' 
'round them sugar mountains was rivers of the 
finest old Jamaiky rum I ever tasted.' 

" 'You don't say so !' says the old lady. 'Well, 
well, well, who'd ha' thought it ? Real old Jamaiky 
rum !' 

" 'Oh, that 'aint nothin', says the boy. 'We was 
anchored off Valparaiso one Sunday mornin,' when 
all at once we heard some feller hollerin' ; "Hello, 
there, Cap'n ! I say, hello, there !" We looked all 
over the ship without findin' anybody, till finally 
the cabin boy spots a merman, settin' on the haw- 
ser and floppin' his old tail 'round like a mackerel. 
When he sees the Cap'n, he takes off his hat real 
polite like an' says, says he. '"Scuse me, Cap'n, 
but would you mind shiftin' yer anchor a bit? 
You've dropped it inter my front yard right in front 
of my door. My wife wants to go to church, an', 
b'gosh, she can't git out." 


Panama auD tbe Sterras 

" Well, of course, the old man said he'd shift the 
anchor. The merman says, "Thankee very kindly, 
sir," an' with a flop o' his fishy tail dove out o' 

" 'Do tell/ says the old lady, That was real kind 
of the Cap'n. But say, John, did ye see any queer 
animals while ye was gone?' 

" 'Oh, yes,' says John, T saw stacks of 'em. 
Why, mother, ye just orter see the flyin' fish in the 
Caribbean sea.' 

" 'Hold on there, John !' says the old woman, 
*Did you say flyin' fish ?' 

" 'Yes, mother, flyin' fish.' 

" 'Now, just lookee here, John,' says she, 'I be- 
lieve what you say about the mountains of sugar 
an' rivers of rum — I've hearn tell of them — an' 
that story about the merman is all right, 'cause 
mermen's wives has ter go ter church same as 
other folks, but, when you try to stuff yer pore 
old mother with yarns about flyin' fish, yer goin' 
a leetle too far, John, jest a leetle too far.' " 

Of which story, more anon. 

4^ J^ *^ 


a 3free«»Sil\>ertte 

"Billy Bryan," the sailors called him, whereat I 
wondered muchly, and made sundry and divers in- 
quiries for enlightenment. I failed to get much 
information that could be relied upon, however. 
It seems that, while Billy was a highly respectable 
monkey of the ring-tailed variety, his pedigree and 
other details of his history were shrouded in the 
gloomiest gloom — a sort of Stephen Crane gloom, 
the kind you can ''hear" if you listen intently. 
He had been the property of a sailor, who had died 
at Panama of "Yellow Jack," and had been kept 
aboard the ship mainly because of his "cussedness," 
rather than from any sentimental regard on the 
part of the sailors for the "bunky" that was dead 
and gone. A dead sailor is to his mates at best, 
only — a dead sailor. Som.e said that his previous 
owner had called the monkey Billy Bryan because 
he had been caught in Guatemala — a free silver 
country. Others again, thought he was named 
after the distinguished statesman from Nebraska 
because he hadn't a ghost of a shov/ to be elected 
president of the United States. This was hardly 
good reasoning as to the monkey's political pros- 
pects, for within the memory of man "monkeys" 
have been known to rise to that exalted position. 
Of course, the application was justifiable enough 
as to the "Boy Orator of the Platte," but, some- 


Panama anb tbe Sierras 

how, the explanation was not sufficient. The only 
point of real similarity between Bryan and his 
Simian namesake lay in the fact that the former 
is a lawyer, and the latter characterized by preda- 
tory habits. This, too, was insufficient to explain 
the monkey's name. A mystery, then, it must 
ever remain. 

Billy was very wise in his day and generation. 
He had acquired a thirst for the liquids in the 
steward's buflfet that was a glowing tribute to the 
memory of Darwin. I had heard of monkeys that 
were "almost human," but I had never before en- 
countered one that was thoroughly human. Billy 
would get blind drunk, he was an infernal thief and 
as big a liar as a fellow who couldn't talk man-talk 
could possibly be, and would invariably return 
evil for good whenever he had any choice in the 
matter. Oh, yes, Billy was a very anthropoidic 
monk. Billy had the run of the ship from time 
to time, and on such occasions made life one 
continual round of enjoyment for the passengers. 
There was nothing too mean for him to do. His 
last exploit was a murderous assault on the cap- 
tain's pet cat. Had it not been for the interven- 
tion of one of the sailors, tabby v^/ould have been 
food for the sharks. Billy was proceeding to push 


B5 i^cnn as a man 

her under the bulwark netting and into the sea, 
when he was discovered and his nefarious plans 

But I failed to appreciate fully how very human 
that precious monkey was until I tried to do him 
a good turn one day. He had been deprived of 
the freedom of the ship after his felonious — "felini- 
ous" it should be, I suppose — assault on the cap- 
tain's cat. On fair days, however, he was brought 
on deck by a sympathetic sailor, who had stuck to 
the long-tailed rascal through all his evil conduct. 
He was tethered to a rope near the ship's bell. 
Here he moped and sulked, and concocted new 
schemes of villainy. Whether he despaired of get- 
ting into any more mischief, became tired of life 
and, in a fit of melancholy, tried to hang himself, 
or got into the predicament accidentally, I cannot 
say — suffice it that I found his monkeyship sus- 
pended by the neck in such a manner that, if help 
had not been at hand, his gentle spirit would have 
been Vv-afted into the monkey heaven quicker than I 
have written the account of his misfortune. Now, 
I had no love for that particular monkey, in fact, 
I hated him as — well, as much as my gentle and 
forgiving spirit permits me to hate. In general, 
the prospects of parting company with him was 
not in the least abhorrent to me, but I lean some- 


Panama ant> tbe Sietraa 

what toward Buddhism, and I didn't like to think 
of that miserable Httle fiend coming back to earth 
again. He might be transmogrified into a popu- 
Hst, a "professor" of osteopathy, or worse still, a 
"kissing bug," (Hobsonia Oscidatorius.)'^ 

And so I interposed, got a stay of proceedings, 
and, by what a distinguished lawyer friend of mine 
calls a "bill of reviver" — known to medicine as ar- 
tificial respiration — succeeded in resuscitating him. 
Billy was meek enough for an hour or so after 
his painful experience — he was too weak to look 
for mischief. Finally, however, he recovered suf- 
ficiently to enable him to climb to the top of the 
bell, where he sat in moody silence. Feeling that 
my assistance in his recent trouble entitled me to 
the monkey's friendship, I started toward him with 
the view of condoling with him. He waited until 
I was fairly within range and then, with a snarl 
that would have done credit to a Scotch terrier, 
sprang right at my face. Fortunately he miscal- 
culated and, having reached the end of his rope, 
landed at my feet. Being willing to seize upon 
any portion of my anatomy that happened to be 
handy, he immediately set his vicious teeth in the 

*Notice is hereby given that this addition to natural 
history nomenclature is protected by copyright. 


3ust Xthe a ipatient 

calf of my right leg. Having thus revenged him- 
self upon the supposed author of his recent misery, 
the little imp sprang back to his perch upon the 
bell and proceeded to swear at me in all the shades 
and variations of the monkey language. Had my 
friend, Prof. Garner, been there, he might have 
added some veritable gems to his Simian vocabu- 
lary. Had I ever entertained the slightest doubt 
as to the correctness of the evolutionary doctrine, 
this last evidence of human nature in that monkey 
would have dispelled it. The worst of it was that 
Billy was not in the habit of brushing his teeth with 
antiseptics, hence I had a nice little infection in the 
bite and a resulting ulcer that lasted for some 
weeks. There is an ugly scar upon my leg, which 
has decided my political trend whenever, in future, 
the distinguished apostle of free silver is a candi- 
date for "any old ofiice." I will not lend the limb 
for campaign material, however; it might be — well, 
submitted to too much traction. Queer are the 
ways of politicians. But I am. now superior to the 
average voter. I'll have some tangible reason for 
my political creed on election day. 

i^ ^ ^ 


Panama nnt> the Sierras 

Sultry, vile-smelling, dirty old Colon ! In the days 
of the Argonauts, who, in quest of 'The Golden 
Fleece," traversed the Isthmus of Panama en route 
to the "land of mines and vines, of Howland and 
Aspinwall's steamship lines," this ancient town 
was called Aspinwall, in honor of the founder of 
the first line of steamships to The Golden West. 
With all due deference to Mr. Aspinwall, the pres- 
ent name of the town is far more appropriate than 
its former patronymic. It is certainly flattering^ 
to the late Christobal — who is too dead to know — 
and expressive of the anatomic and physiologic re- 
lations of the place to the rest of the American 
continent. William E. Curtis has enthused over 
its quaint picturesqueness and beauty. Well, the 
distinguished W. E. C. must have gazed at the 
town from the bay through a glass, then shut his^ 
eyes and held his breath till well away from the 
place. The view from the harbor is, however, 
really very beautiful. As I saw them, the low, 
quaint buildings, the lofty palms and cocoanut 
trees, with the haze of the early tropic morning; 
over all, were a picture fair to see. The sturdy 
sailors who dropped the anchor were matter-of- 
fact enough, but there was joy for me in the rat- 
tling of the chain and the paying out of the hawser. 
But, after landing, and the novelty of watching the 


Colon, nee Hsptnwall 

dusky, perspiring stevedores and roustabouts and 
listening to their big, round Spanish oaths and 
monkey-like chatter has worn off, one sees Colon 
as it really is, and, unless he be much less fastidi- 
ous than myself, he will not take away pleasant 
memories of the place. Poor old De Lesseps ! I 
don't wonder he went wrong. His prolonged resi- 
dence in Colon should expiate any participation he 
may have had in that most colossal steal of modern 
times, the Panama canal. Oh, yes, that Colon is a 
dirty, fever-smitten and generally unhealthful place, 
and yet, it might be redeemed — I do not say that if 
it were "flushed," it might not — well, I don't like 
the place, anyhow, and will not be likely to visit it 
again from choice. Even its apparently secure, 
land-locked harbor is a delusion and a snare for 
the unwary mariner. When the breezes blow "for 
keeps," vessels are oft-times compelled to seek 
safety outside the bay. 

Colon is built upon a coral island, less than a 
mile long and a third of a mile wide. The island is 
very little above sea level and is connected with 
the main land by artificial embankments, built 
chiefly by the railroad company, which has spent 
$5,000,000 in improving the town. 

The climate of Colon and vicinity has been satir- 
ically described as being divided into two sea- 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

sons. 'Tirst, the wet season, from the 15th 
of April to the 15th of December, when people 
die of yellow fever in four or five days. Second, 
the dry or 'healthy season,' from December 15th 
to April 15th, when people die of pernicious fever 
in from twenty to thirty-six hours." Colon is a 
small place, but the time has been known during 
epidemics when forty or fifty people were buried 
daily in its cemetery. The town has been burned 
down once, but a few more first-class fires would 
be decidedly beneficial. 

if^ ^ i^ 

"All aboard for Panama!" 

How like old friends some things inanimate 
really seem. I am sure I recognized the very en- 
gine that drew me over the isthmus in 186 — ; I 
don't care to tell what year, for I'm getting a bit 
"touchy" on the point of age. It had been so long 
since that memorable ride that I did not expect to 
see my old asthmatic friend again. But I know 
that it must have been the same. Somewhat de- 
crepit, it is true, with a more strident and anxious 
intonation in its spasmodic wheezes, and a denser 
hue in its smoke and grime, but never-the-less the 
same old steed. More given to balkiness than of 

yore, and therefore less liable to get there on time, 
the venerable machine was still worthy of my affec- 
tion and esteem as the first locomotive I had ever 
seen. Messieurs, the managers of the Panama 
railroad, don't say that it was not the friend of 
my youth — the memory of my first railway ride is 
too vivid. I could not have been mistaken. And 
the cars, too, must have been the same, else my 
memory betrayed me. 

But who cares for smoke, and dust, or bumping, 
rickety cars, or a wheezy engine, so long as the 
way lies through Paradise. The Isthmus of 
Panama, as seen from the railroad, is a continuous 
panorama of tropic beauty. Palms and ferns in 
the wildest profusion, bananas, plantains, bamboos, 
cottonwoods and tall cocoanut trees line the way. 
It seemed as though we were traveling through 
a vast conservatory. Intertwined with the dense, 
tangled shrubbery were hundreds of wild morning- 
glory vines of every conceivable variety, and the 
forest in all directions was illumined by gorgeous 
orchids and countless other blossoms of many and 
varied hues. In many places the ivy-tangled trees 
and shrubbery are so dense that the forest is ap- 
parently impenetrable. Now and again a bird of 
brilliant plumage flitted by, or a huge, gorgeous 
butterfly lazily winged his way among the flowers. 


Panama anb tbe Stettas 

Here and there a narrow pathway may be seen 
which is by no means inviting to the traveler. The 
closely-matted underbrush is too suggestive of 
snakes, which are there so numerous and large. 
Much of the land is swampy, and an explanation 
of the prevalence of severe malarial infection is not 
far to seek. From time to time bouquets of ex- 
quisite flowers were offered for sale on the train, 
bouquets that would have enthused the coldest 
of mortals. As we reached the hills in the interior 
of the isthmus the scenery grew semi-tropic — in- 
deed, it appeared very like that of the temperate 
zone. Only for a few miles, however, and then, 
down again into fairyland we went — and in fairy- 
land we staid till the city of Panama was reached 
and that wonderful ride was but a memory. 

> > *- 

Despite the tumble-down and poverty-stricken 
appearance of most of the buildings in the towns 
along the Panama railroad, there are features 
of picturesqueness, novelty and beauty. Low, dark 
and decrepit as many of the houses are, their palm- 
thatched roofs and adobe walls appeal to the ar- 


Wai^6iC)e DicturesQues 

tistic eye as more pretentious dwellings could not 
do. In many instances the selection of building 
materials is most peculiar. That corrugated iron 
is a suitable substance of which to construct a 
tropic habitation I very much doubt, yet a large 
proportion of the dwellings and stores are built of 
it. Where the walls are composed of other ma- 
terials the roof is of corrugated iron. When the 
iron becomes corroded and dilapidated, it forms a 
most novel ruin. I succeeded in getting a very ex- 
cellent illustration of an old, tumble-down hut of 
this description. The picture is especially striking 
in that a native pickaninny accidentally became 
mixed up with my subject. I had been seeking an 
opportunity to capture a picture of some of the 
native children, costumed a la mode, but without 
success. When my proofs were developed I was 
quite astonished to find that, in photographing the 
hut, I had also taken a little native urchin charac- 
teristically arrayed in his "best suit of clothes." 
He had evidently been swimming in the big wooden 
bowl that may be seen near the hut, and was prob- 
ably posing for the spanking which mammy was in 
duty bound to give him — when she caught him. 
To advertisers of soaps I will say that this urchin's 
picture is covered by special copyright, tho* with 
but little else. 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

The population of the isthmus is most cosmopoli- 
tan. It is especially characterized by Orientals. 
Typic Chinese, Japanese and Malays are met with. 
The native population is decidedly mixed. No- 
where is the color line less sharply drawn than here. 
A large proportion of the people are of negro 
blood, the Caucasian element being mainly Span- 
ish, as might be expected, considering the national- 
ity of the earliest settlers and the fact that miscege- 
nation is not so unpopular with the Latins as it 
might be. Pervading the whole is that native 
Indian blood which gives to the population those 
peculiar characteristics that distinguish the deni- 
zens of all Spanish-American colonies. Whatever 
the mingling of bloods may be, Spanish is the uni- 
versal language. 

At the time of this, my last visit to the isthmus, 
a ''one-horse" revolution was in progress in Colom- 
bia — revolution is the chief industry down there — 
and extra vigilance was imposed upon the police 
lest filibusters or other suspicious characters enter 
the country. As a result of this effort to prevent 
the invasion of their malaria-stricken republic by 
evil-minded marauders, we passengers were sub- 
mitted to investigation by a *'one-by-five" police 
ofificer. The investigation was very severe, con- 
sisting of taking our names in a huge and formid- 


Istbmtan IDtailance 

able register. The policeman couldn't talk English, 
nor, I suspect, could he read or write in any lan- 
guage, so we just signed any old name that hap- 
pened to come handy. It may surprise the shade 
of Ward McAllister to hear that he is on the books 
of the Panama police, but he's there just the same. 
I put McAllister's name down because the officer 
was barefooted, and therefore merited rebuke. In- 
deed, the rebuke was merited by the whole force 
of the isthmus. So far as I could judge, shoes are 
tabooed in that region. Ward surely cannot feel 
hurt by the misappropriation of his name, for he 
had excellent company. Such names as Admiral 
Dewey, Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Robert Darwin 
and General Miles would grace any register. As 
each distinguished name went down upon the big, 
dirty book, the officer bowed with the grace of a 
Chesterfield, smiling the while as though such inti- 
mate acquaintance with great men warmed the very 
cockles of his heart. 

There is no isthmian town so humble that it can- 
not afford a police force. Though there be but two 
huts in the place, one of them is sure to be deco- 
rated with a huge sign announcing that therein is 
to be found the department of police. In the pic- 
ture herewith appended may be seen the entire 
police force of one little town on duty bent. The 


Panama anD tbc ©terras 

emergency is evidently a serious one, for the "fin- 
est" has a decidedly untropical "hustle" on him. 
Surely, nothing short of a riot call or an invasion 
of filibusters could so move an isthmian policeman. 
There is too much languor in the Colombian air, 
and too much restful apathy in the native blood. 

Let it not be supposed that the photographic 
fiend has an easy time in securing photographs of 
the Panama natives. The only "snap" there is is 
in the machine. I had no end of trouble in getting 
pictures sufficiently interesting and characteristic 
to warrant the effort involved. My victims were 
shy and, I suspect, superstitious. They would have 
none of me. Such snap shots as I secured were 
"happy go lucky" and taken on the sly. On one 
occasion I made liberal offers of real American 
coin to the female guardians of a particularly bright 
and clean-looking row of pickaninnies, in the hope 
of securing a nearer view. Failing to cajole my 
victims, I took a hurried snap shot at them. The 
result was so illustrative of the difficulties under 
which I labored that I am now well pleased with 
what bade fair to be a failure. Two women are 


a Snap*sbooter'5 troubles 

seen running away from the ''Gringo devil," whilst 
one, more courageous than the rest, stands shak- 
ing her warning finger at him in vigorous protest. 
The pickaninnies, four in a row, probably scared 
stiflf by the demonstrations of their elders, and all 
too conscious of their Sunday garb, show up Hke 
flies in a pan of new milk. 

Apropos of the children of the isthmus, there 
seems to be the greatest variance of opinion as to 
the proper garments for their adornment. I say 
"adornment" advisedly — protection for their tough 
little hides is hardly necessary in that tropic cli- 
mate, and ethical considerations would seem to be 
at a discount. The youngster who has on more 
than a single garment is rare. Those who have 
this single shirt-like covering seem envious of 
those who haven't a stitch of clothing upon them — 
and these are many. As the shirt is rather abbre- 
viated, the ethical importance of the garment is 
open to question. The most incongruous groups 
of children are to be seen ; children black as night, 
fair-haired and brown-skinned, red-headed and 
black-skinned, white-skinned and yellow-skinned, 
children with shirt and trousers, children with only 
a shirt and that of most unstable equilibrium, chil- 
dren with not a vestige of clothing — whose native 
modesty is most diaphanous — all playing to- 


Panama and tbe Sierras 

gether, as naturally as if there were no such thing 
as indecency in their language. And who shall 
say that innocence — and dirt — is not an all-suffi- 
cient garb? But, some of the children I saw were 
just a trifle old for such costumes, and besides, they 
''ripen" rather early down there. 

Many of the children are very beautiful. I have 
seen, especially in the city of Panama, little dark- 
skinned beauties who would attract admiring at- 
tention anywhere. In the towns along the road, 
I noticed that many of the children seemed un- 
healthy. Their faces were pasty and anemic, their 
limbs spindling and fragile, and their abdomens 
markedly protuberant. Commenting upon this in 
the hearing of several gentlemen who live upon the 
isthmus, I was informed that their sickly appear- 
ance, and especially their protuberant abdomens, 
resulted from the practice of clay-eating. It is 
probable that the clay contains arsenic in sufficient 
quantity to produce the characteristic effects of 
that drug. How far rachitis enters into the result- 
ing nutritional disturbance is open to question. 

The principal industry of the isthmus seems to 
be the Panama lottery. All along the road obtrude 
the signs of that more or less worthy institution. 
In every little town one of the more pretentious 
buildings is sure to bear the legend, "Lotteria de 


Colombian SolDteti? 

Panama." In one town the lottery agency is situ- 
ated next door to a military barracks. It was quite 
entertaining to see the soldiers lounging about the 
door of the lottery office, comparing tickets and 
engaged in what was evidently a more or less ani- 
mated discussion of the last lucky number. And 
what martial-looking fellows they were, to be sure ! 
Shoes and stockings were at a discount with them, 
their bayonets had no scabbards, half of their guns 
had no bayonets and some of the bayonets no 
guns ; their uniforms were — not uniform. But 
then, there was the commandante — oh, my, the 
commandante ! Solomon in all his glory was a gray 
mouse beside that official. How revolutions are 
possible in that country I cannot see. I can hear 
the reverberations of that gorgeous red and gold 
uniform even now. Ye gods ! if he had only had 
shoes — shades of Bonaparte and Wellington! 

V^ » V^ 

Not the least remarkable of the interesting fea- 
tures of my several trips across the isthmus were 
the frequent views of the Panama canal — the 
grave of so many ambitions, confessedly the grave 
of De Lessep's honor, very nearly the financial 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

grave of the French nation, and the cause of more 
heartaches and privations than perhaps any enter- 
prise of modern times. How pathetic the fate of 
the great engineer, to whose fame the Suez canal 
had guaranteed immortaHty. Was De Lesseps 
really particeps criminis in this, the greatest steal 
of the century, or was he merely a pliant and un- 
suspecting tool in the hands of unscrupulous stock- 
jobbers and swindlers? Charitable though one 
may be, the impression obtrudes itself that a man 
of De Lesseps' engineering skill and practical ex- 
perience must have known that the scheme was a 
crooked one from start to finish. I do not claim 
to know much of engineering problems, but to 
me, a casual observer, the comparison of the tang- 
ible results with the cost of the work up to the 
time the bubble burst, suggested that there had 
never been any serious intention of completing the 
canal, and that the scheme was a gigantic swindle 
from its inception to the time when the French 
nation refused to be longer fleeced and the boom 
in Panama stock collapsed. Evidences of waste 
and prodigality are seen on every hand. * En- 
gines, tram cars, railroad iron and construction 
material of all kinds, dump cars and steam shovels 
in suggestive profusion lie rusting along the rail- 
road and the alleged banks of the canal. The ex- 


Ube Panama Canal 

planation of this enormous waste is not far to 
seek. Aside from the idle machinery and appli- 
ances incident to an almost complete suspension 
of work on the canal, the rusting and decaying ma- 
terial bears eloquent if mute testimony to many 
a fraudulent contract. Were the promoters hun- 
gry for more money? They blithely assessed the 
stock. But the stockholders were getting restless 
and must be offered a raison d'etre for the assess- 
ment. "Aha!" cried the promoters. "We will 
order more material and call upon the lambs to 
settle the bills." And order they did, and such a 
doctoring of bills for supplies ne'er before was 
seen. And the poor devils of stockholders had 
little opportunity to inventory the materials pur- 
chased or to compare the stuff delivered with that 
ordered and paid for. Itemized and verified ac- 
counts are not to say popular with promoters of 
huge enterprises. 

But what of the canal? 

"There you are !" quoth a fellow traveler who 
knew the ropes. 

"Where?" I asked, as guilelessly as only a 
Chicagoan could. 

"Why, right over there. Don't you see it ?" 

Well, I did see a sort of ditch, of a shallowness 
suggesting that the engineers had been afraid to 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

dig very deeply, lest they might discover that the 
wrong route had been selected. When I expressed 
my astonishment at the trivial amount of work 
done, the wise ones said : 

"Wait until you see the great Culebra cut." 
And I did wait, and I saw the cut aforesaid, and, 
while a vast amount of digging had been done, I 
wondered what on earth the row was all about, 
anyway. To one familiar with the work of Ameri- 
can engineers, the Culebra cut is not likely to be a 
cause of paralysis or even great emotional excite- 
ment. I am myself by no means phlegmatic, but 
I did not find the wonderful cut especially exciting 
nor productive of a rush of blood to the head. Two 
hundred and fifty-six millions of dollars should 
have made quite a showing, but the canal itself is 
hardly big enough to bury that much money in. 
As I looked at the work and thought of the cost, 
I wondered what our drainage canal commissioners 
would have done with that Panama ditch. I don't 
know how well they could have withstood tempta- 
tion so far away from the stockholders, but I'll 
wager that, ere this, they would have had ships 
traversing the isthmus from ocean to ocean. 

Culebra is on the crest of the Andes, which with 
us v/ould be called the "divide." It is character- 
ized by the rankest of vegetation. 'Tis said that if 


H 2)eaMi5 ©ccupatton 

the railroad company did not keep men constantly 
employed in cutting it away from the tracks, the 
vegetation would hide the road in six months. 

And the waste and peculation in digging the 
canal was not all. Broken hearts and blasted lives 
there may have been among the stockholders in 
La belle France, but here the patient toilers in the 
dirt died like poisoned flies. Winding in and out 
among the swampy plains and mountains of the 
isthmus slowly creeps the sluggish Chagres River. 
Who has not heard of the deadly ^'Chagres fever," 
the most malignant of malarial infections? Im- 
agine the result when the deadly micro-organisms 
were stirred up and liberated by the picks and 
shovels of the laboring thousands, who, tempted 
by relatively high wages, flocked to work upon the 
great ditch. The "ready-made graves" along the 
route of the canal were not long empty. Some 
chance for his life had the native son of the soil; 
'twas as if the sun had baked him until he was case- 
hardened and resistant to a degree, but the aHen 
laborer — in most instances his doom was sealed. 
If he escaped a speedy death his after Ufe was 
wrecked by chronic malarial poisoning with its 
train of physical ills. Air, water and soil, all were 
against him. Even slight deference to the laws of 
hygiene and practical sanitation was impossible. 


Panama anO tbe Sierras 

And yet, so dire is the struggle for existence that 
in this warfare with the soil new soldiers were ever 
ready to take the places of those who fell. And 
the Plasmodium malarzce, from its lair in the slimy 
ooze of the swamps, sang songs of praise and 
thanksgiving for its never-ending stream of vic- 
tims. There are several reasons why De Lesseps 
should have been called the "Great Undertaker."* 
Apropos of the Chagres River, the non-expert 
is likely to wonder why the engineers of the canal 
did not utilize it in the construction of the great 
waterway. Cogent scientific arguments and diffi- 
culties innumerable have been offered in explana- 
tion — but I am puzzled just the same. Would it 
have so far simplified the problem as to lessen 
opportunities for fleecing the lambs? I do not 
know what all the technical obstacles in the way 
of the construction of the canal may be, but I do 
not believe there are many that American engi- 
neers could not speedily overcome. Such little 
progress as had been made has been through emer- 
gency consultations with American engineers. 
One thing is evident to me, and that is, that unless. 

*To those who are desirous of knowing the facts and 
figures of the obstacles encountered in the construction 
of the Panama canal, I would recommend the perusal of 
"Five Years at Panama," by Dr. Wolford Nelson. 


SUp*0boD BuGineeting 

American capital and American engineering skill 
are applied to its construction the Panama Canal 
will never be more than it is now — a disagreeable 
memory in the minds of the surviving stockholders 
and a bad taste in the mouth of the French na- 

While the great engineering achievements De 
Lesseps had previously accomplished — notably the 
building of the Suez Canal — entitle him to our 
charity in considering the fiasco at Panama, cer- 
tain facts suggest that he was at least in touch with 
the peculiar financiering of a scheme which almost 
eclipsed the South Sea Bubble. De Lesseps' ex- 
perience in building the Suez Canal seemed to be 
ignored by him in his financial estimates and en- 
gineering methods at Panama, Take, for example, 
the matter of rainfall. The rainfall at Panama is to 
that of Suez as is 128 to 9. The Panama railroad 
has been twenty feet under water at times during 
the rainy season. Was not this a very important 
point for consideration in making estimates ? One 
would think it had been forgotten. Was not the 
experience of the railroad builders suggestive of 
what might be expected in building the canal ? It 
took five years to build the 47 miles of road, the 
first 23 miles occupying two years. And the build- 
ers were in a hurry, too, for the travel across the 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

isthmus to California was then enormous. At one 
point a forty foot cut was made, which filled up 
with the first rainstorm. The road-bed was then 
made on top of the greasy soil and rock that had 
slipped into the cut. The total cost of the road 
was $8,000,000. 

To illustrate the slip-shod methods of surveying 
and making estimates, the following is pertinent: 
A swamp of considerable size was surveyed and 
contracts let for building the canal through it. 
When the work was started, however, it was found 
that below the fourteen feet of swamp ooze and 
slime was an undeterminable thickness of solid 
rock. It was such blind ( ?) calculations as this that 
lent a somewhat dusky hue to De Lesseps' reputa- 
tion. Surely he was not a fool, and, if not a fool, 
in what category should we place him? De Les- 
seps set no less than twelve dates for the formal 
opening of the canal — the opening that never came. 
This amused the poor devils of stockholders and 
loosened their grip on their hard-earned francs. 

Can it be possible that the promoters of the 
canal did not know the deadly effects of the Pan- 
ama climate and water? The fearful mortality 
among the laborers is well illustrated by the fate 
of a gang of 800 Coolies imported to work on the 
canal. Within a few months 600 had either died 


TLbc %nxm'3 ot Qtticc 

of fever or committed suicide. Some of the poor 
devils would actually go to the beach at Panama 
at low tide and sit down in the mud and rocks, 
there to await the rising of the tide. And there 
they would stolidly sit till the rising waters engulfed 
them I Anything was better than a hell upon earth. 
The few survivors were finally shipped to Costa 

A few hundred workmen are shoveling, scooping 
and dumping earth, here and there along the canal, 
principally at Culebra — a pitiful attempt to back 
up the forlorn hope that some foreign power will 
buy the present company out. The work must not 
stop, else the Colombian government will seize, 
not only the canal, but the railroad, which is an 
integral part of the original canal scheme. But, 
is the game worth the candle ? I doubt it. A great 
waterway from the Atlantic to the Pacific there 
will yet be, and it will be an American national 
enterprise, but — 'twill not in my opinion be located 
at Panama. 

Nelson records some reckless and extravagant 
expenditures on the part of the Panama canal men 
that beat Boss Tweed at his own game.* One 
"Director General" lived in a house costing $ioo,- 

*W. Nelson, op. cit, 


Panama an& tbe Sierras 

000. His salary was $50,000 per year. He had a 
private Pullman car costing $42,000 and was al- 
lowed $50 per day for expenses. Blush, all ye 
drummers ! Later, he had a summer residence 
built at a cost of $150,000. One canal boss built 
a pigeon house for which the company paid $1,500. 
Another built a bathhouse costing the company 
$40,000. The Canal Company claimed to have 
$30,000,000 worth of machinery on the isthmus. 
Nelson stated twenty years ago that most of it lay 
rotting in the rain and mud. It wasn't worth tak- 
ing away for old junk when he saw it, hence I can- 
not be accused of exaggeration in my own state- 
ments regarding the waste of material. 

But the scenery along the railroad is so beauti- 
ful as to compensate somewhat for the disappoint- 
ment experienced in viewing the canal. I presume, 
however, that its beauties would appeal more 
strongly to the layman than to a physician in search 
of rest and health. Artistic I am by instinct, and 
somewhat by education, but, gazing at the beauti- 
ful landscape through the haze of a tropic morn- 
ing, I could not help thinking of the deadly miasma 
of the vine-tangled swamps and lowlands that inter- 
mingle with the green hills and smiling uplands of 
the isthmus. The railroad cost thousands of lives. 
The white man who did not succumb to fever 


Ube Cit^ of ipanama 

within six weeks was a phenomenon ; the Mongo- 
lian succumbed still more quickly. The Plasmo- 
dium malaricB is not fair to gaze upon ; he is no 
respecter of persons; he is vicious; he is almost 
incoercible and, by the same token, he is deucedly 
inartistic as to both predilection and the effects of 
his handiwork. An engorged liver, an enlarged 
spleen or a chill and a sweat — an awfully unesthetic 
lot to select from. Panama is the grave of the 
Caucasian. During the period of activity on the 
canal, ready-made graves and second-hand cofifins 
were constantly to be seen in the Panama cemetery 
— waiting for the next batch of fever victims. 

A^ i^ *^ 

Bizarre, picturesque, romantic, dingy, dirty, 
beautiful, sultry, feverish old Panama! How 
strange it seems that such a quaint, old-world city 
is so near us — in miles if not in accessibility. It 
was very hot in Panama — it is always hot when I 
am there. And yet, the heat, though oppressive, 
was made endurable by the uncharitable thought 
that my friends in Chicago were in all probability 
just then enjoying some of that delightful Febru- 
ary weather which only our lake region affords, 
perchance even luxuriating in a blizzard. They 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

were not. sweating, I'll be bound. Oh, no — they 
were wondering whether an extra suit of flannels 
wouldn't be the proper thing. Abhor the heat? 
Not at all. On the contrary, I reveled in it. 

Despite its narrow, roughly-paved streets, Pan- 
ama is one of the most interesting places conceiv- 
able. Its quaint architecture is alone enough to 
please the fancy of the artist, but, enlivened as it 
is by the coloring for which the Latin Americans 
have such a decided penchant, the effect at first 
sight is as beautiful as it is striking. The external 
tints of the buildings run through varying shades 
of red, yellow, pink, gray and brown. Terra-cotta 
and pink are the prevailing shades. We of the 
north would consider such vivid coloring rather 
ouir^ I fear, but, somehow, it seems here not only 
natural, but very pleasing to the eye. It is prob- 
able that the toning down and softening of the 
colors by age has much to do with the general 
effect. Many of the buildings are centenarians 
several times over. Their walls are time-stained 
and in not a few instances quite decrepit. And the 
beauty of the varying hues imparted to the one- 
time brilliantly tinted walls bears indisputable evi- 
dence that the long-gone architects builded wiser 
than they knew. Age brings ugliness alone to 


Ustbmian ITconoclasm 

structures of a modern type. Time, and change, 
and weather have but added new features of beauty 
and picturesqueness to these rehcs of generations 
past. How I wish that my camera might have re- 
produced the coloring of the scenes at Panama. 
And the same regret appHes to the scenes of my 
entire trip, especially to those of the Central Am- 
erican and Mexican coasts. 

How little that is pleasant has been said of the 
Isthmus of Panama. Most of the uncompliment- 
ary descriptions that have been written of it have 
emanated from the inner consciousness of inartis- 
tic travelers. Over that same inner consciousness 
has oftentimes hung the depressing, pall-like in- 
fluence of the sultry climate — the traveler having 
seen the isthmus during an unfavorable season, 
and, perchance, under the sombre shadow of ma- 
laria, with its attendant torpid liver and bilious 
view of things. One female writer descants on 
the reports she has heard of Panama, as follows : 

" 'Panama,' echoed one gentleman, 'a hell upon 
earth ! A sink of yellow fever, of intermittent 
fever, of ague, of dirt, of fiery, burning heat!' 
'Panama!' cried another, with a derisive laugh, 'I 
give you joy of it. Thermometer ranges from 96 
to 100 in the shade. If you live six months, thank 
your stars.' 'Well,' a third gentleman observes de- 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

cidedly, 'I've never lived there myself, thank God, 
but IVe crossed the isthmus, and I've been three 
days in the dirty town of Panama. The air of the 
isthmus laid me prostrate with fever and the bells 
sent me raving mad while I lay sick — that's all I 
know of Panama.' 

" 'Ye little ken, leddy,' says Sandy Partar, in his 
counsel to Alice Graeme, 'what it is to crass the 
says, and what a sair land it is ayont 'em. No'but 
it's pretty to look on, wi' its heaven o' blue an* its 
gran', fragrant forests, an' bonnie birds an' clear 
waters. But its' what aul Tam wad ha' called a 
painted sepulker, fair 'ithout, but 'ithin fu' o' cor- 
ruption. What wi' favers, an' buccaneers, an' sar- 
pints, an' Spaniards an' 'ither reptiles, its nae place 
for Christian mon, muckle mair young leddies.' " 

This same writer, iconoclast that she is, would 
fain leave no redeeming feature to poor old Pana- 
ma. Quoth she : "And what about Panama hats ? 
Alas, for the illusions of commerce! There are 
really no Panam.a hats. They are made chiefly in 
the neighboring republics of Ecuador and Peru, 
though some are manufactured in the interior of 
New Granada, but all are merely shipped from 

It seems that Guayaquil is the great central depot 
for Panama hats, the peculiar pita grass of which 



H Costly IRflall 

they are constructed being found most abundantly 
in the neighboring province of Christobal. It is 
also found on the Archipelago del Rey, forty miles 
south of Panama. This grass must be braided at 
night or early morning, as the heat of the sun 
makes it very brittle and renders working it im- 
practicable. It requires three months for a native 
to make a really fine hat. Some of the hats thus 
constructed are almost as fine in texture as a su- 
perior grade of linen, and sell for upward of fifty 
dollars, even at Guayaquil. When the pita grass 
is properly prepared it may, in an emergency, even 
be used for surgical sutures. 

Modern Panama was founded in 1673. Over the 
entrance of San FeHpe Neri church, the most an- 
cient ecclesiastic structure in the town, may be 
seen the date, 1688. Time was when it was one 
of the most important ports of the Spanish main. 
Being a storehouse for vast Spanish treasures, it 
was made a strong, walled city, with moat, gate 
and drawbridge. The old-time Spaniards built 
well, as remnants of their early masonry show. 
Although built largely by slave labor, the walls 
of Panama cost $11,000,000. Nelson relates a 
story of a Spanish king who went down to the 
coast of old Spain and tried to see Panama. Quoth 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

he, ''I thought from the cost of the walls, that 
they would be high enough to be seen from 

Twenty years ago Panama had a population of 
fifteen thousand, five-sixths negroes, Spaniards, 
Indians, mulattoes, half-breeds and Chinese. The 
same population is claimed at the present day. 
My own casual estimate is not much more than 
half that number. 

The exportation of India rubber is one of the im- 
portant features of Panama's commxcrce, though 
not so much is exported as in former years. 

Time was, evidently, when Panama was a very 
pious community, as is becoming a good old 
Catholic town. Much of the energy and wealth of 
the place in its early history was expended, appar- 
ently, in the construction of churches and cathe- 
drals — for which this particular camera fiend ren- 
ders grateful thanks. One old, tumble-down, aban- 
doned church — St. Dominic — stands as a monu- 
ment of which the spirits of its builders of nearly 
two centuries ago need not be ashamed. Services 
were not always held within its walls. In an angle 
between the walls is a belfry of a practical kind, for 
here, beneath those time-stained bells, the priests 

*"Five Years at Panama." 

pious Panama 

were wont to stand, teaching and exhorting their 
flocks. What eloquent tales of by-gone days the 
now listless tongues of those silent, venerable bells 
might tell 1 What tales of the hopes and fears, the 
joys and sorrows and the manifold passions of 
dark-skinned generations past and gone — tales 
tinged with that ardor which springs only from the 
hot blood of the Latin races, and especially from 
that of the tropic Latin-American. And those an- 
cient bells are not abashed ; they stand out in bold 
rehef, facing the public street as though waiting 
the touch of the vanished reverent hands that 
evoked such sweet music in the long ago. 

Som.e of the newer and more pretentious build- 
ings, notably the churches, are very beautiful and 
picturesque. Like the older structures they par- 
take of that somewhat Moorish style and ardent 
coloring so characteristic of Spanish-American 
countries. Much as I admire the older types, jus- 
tice must be done to the new. Once again, would 
that I could reproduce those wonderful colors. 

The large number of imposing churches in Pan- 
ama seems to have but little influence on the mor- 
als of the inhabitants — from sixty to seventy per 
cent of the births are illegitimate. This, of course, 
is not so bad in its ultimate results as it seems, for 
the infant mortality is something awful. 


IPanama an^ tbe Sierras 

Landscape gardening could hardly be said to be 
a fad in Panama, but that the people are not in- 
sensible to those beauties of nature to which the 
climate is so favorable is evident. The plaza de la 
catedral, for example, shows a bewildering pro- 
fusion of palms and other tropic plants intermin- 
gled with beautiful flowers. I stood for some time 
at a corner of the plaza admiring its beauties. That 
my admiration was justifiable is well shown by the 
picture I took. 

On the plaza de la catedral stands the cathedral 
of Panama. It is of the finest Moorish type, with 
rather stately towers. It is built of yellow stone. 
The towers are covered with cement and studded 
with shells of the pearl oyster, giving a striking 

Surrounding the cathedral is an inclosure of 
some size in which there is a profusion of palms 
and trees of great beauty. Fairest of all is the 
''Spanish bayonet," with its cruel-edged leaves and 
large, beautiful spikes of yellowish-white flowers. 

> >^ > 


IPanama Divinities 

There is no great difficulty in getting along in 
Spanish-American countries. All one has to do is 
to learn the language, and that is easy. I took a 
twenty minute, "teach you Spanish while you wait" 
course from one of the sailors on the way down to 
Colon, and the thing was done. To be sure, I 
really mastered only two words, but these sufficed. 
I was wont to call the men, amigo, and the women 
folks, honita, on all occasions demanding con- 
verse. Confidentially, I always wondered where 
my "amigo'' carried his dirk, but as I neither de- 
sired nor afifected any degree of intimacy with my 
dark-skinned and somewhat truculent friends, I 
managed to preserve that international amity which 
pervades the relations of our blessed country with 
all other nations. It was somewhat irritating, of 
course, to be jeered at and ridiculed as a ''Gringo" 
by half-grown lads and an occasional ribald grown- 
up, but, inasmuch as nobody on earth but a Span- 
ish-American knows just what the epithet implies, 
I maintained my equanimity. Precisely on what 
grounds a grimy-looking sombreroed Mexican 
greaser, enveloped in a bright red serape, with 
huge spurs jingling at his heels, considers himself 
superior to an American citizen would be difficult 
to conjecture. He none the less regards the latter 
with contempt, and often with open derision. I 


Panama anD tbe Sietvas 

should have Uked to recommend to some of those 
Cabaileros, the careful study of a little afifair that 
once occurred between the United States and Mex- 
ico, but I never irritate sensitive people — especially 
those who carry knives and things. 

But about the ladies of Central America: 
I had heard much of the wondrous beauty of the 
fair sex in that far-away clime, and was prepared to 
be as much edified as a well-behaved and respect- 
able middle-aged doctor could be, and still preserve 
his dignity and moral equipose. "Bonita/' the beau- 
tiful, eh? Well, if ever a man equivocated, I did, 
when addressing those accentuated brunettes. 
Black and brilliant as to eyes they are, it is true, 
but black eyes alone can not redeem a greasy, un- 
wholesome-looking skin, an uncleanly appearance 
and sloppy figure, over all of which hangs the by 
no means ambiguous savor of garlic. "Bonitar* 
Wow, wow ! I wot not. 

Apropos of the language, an American dollar 
goes a long way in making one's self understood 
down yonder. The American eagle on that same 
dollar has a sweet persuasive way with him that 
quite captivates the hearts of our Spanish-Ameri- 
can friends. And they are full of wiles, and fertile 
in resources for capturing our dollar — or such 
fractional parts thereof as may chance to come 


Cbeap /iDonei? 

their way. I would suggest to the traveler who is 
unfamiliar with their ways, the advisability of load- 
ing up with some of their own Colombian silver- 
tin before transacting any business in Panama. 
The ways of its tradesmen in the matter of ex- 
change are devious and tricky, if their method of 
computation in figuring out the rate of exchange 
is to be taken in evidence. At the just and regular 
rate of exchange there is some satisfaction in trad- 
ing with them, although few of them fail to add an 
extra tariff for the Gringo, who does not come 
that way often. Despite the tourist prices the 
souvenir hunter will be surprised at the cheapness 
of most things. Still, things are not cheap enough 
to redeem the still cheaper Colombian money. 
After one has filled his pockets with tinny coin at 
the rate of five for two, a few times, he is quite 
likely to question the argum_ents of the free silver- 
ites, and, after having had considerable trouble in 
getting rid of any surplus Colombian coin he may 
have left on hand on leaving the country, he is apt 
to raise his hat in reverence and esteem for our 
own currency as he thinks of the difificulty he has 
in holding on to his own blissful dollars. My 
friends of the free silver party, don't argue further 
with me until I 'have forgotten my experiences in 
Spanish America. Your doctrines may be sound, 


Panama nnb tbe Sierras 

but — well, I suppose I am prejudiced, just the least 
bit. Who wouldn't be? 

I had always supposed that people in the tropics 
incline to vegetarianism as a matter of self-pre- 
servation. I do not know how^ the masses live in 
Panama, but if the menus of the hotels are a 
fair criterion, they are not vegetarians by a long 
way. Meat, meat, meat ! — course after course of 
meat of varying kind and method of preparation. 
Being a vegetarian for the nonce, my stay at 
Panama partook of the nature of fast days. The 
water being under suspicion, and I being a tee- 
totaller — likewise for the nonce — my lot was a 
most unhappy one. 

:^ ^ ^ 

It is pretty generally known that Panama is not 
an ideal health resort. Indeed, my own advice to 
others in search of health or recreation is to either 
avoid the place altogether or make pretty close 
steamer connections. I am pleased with my experi- 
ence, and my various trips across the isthmus will 
always be a source of great satisfaction to me, but, 
of a truth, I would not again visit Panama save 
under the pressure of necessity. If one go'^'^. how- 
ever, there is no time Hke February. 


THnbealtbtulnes5 ot Panama 

The unsanitary condition of the city of Panama 
is not surprising. Much of the surrounding coun- 
try is swampy, and the city itself is characterized 
by streets the picturesqueness of which cannot 
conceal the fact that they are deplorably narrow 
and stufify. The houses are dark, badly ventilated, 
and, being built largely of adobe, would seem to be 
poorly adapted to so tropic a climate. The water 
is said to be bad, but, it is claimed, this has very 
little bearing upon the health of the community. 
It certainly has no important status as a beverage, 
for the inevitable red wine is the universal drink, 
even among the very poor. The prevalent ab- 
horrence of the external use of water probably has 
something to do with the general unhealthfulness 
of the place. That particular application of hydric 
oxide is apparently not a source of unrest among 
its population. Bathing for cleanliness' sake is an 
unknown quantity among the common people. 

Whatever the cause, yellow fever and severe 
types of paludal fever are ever present in Panama, 
and it behooves the traveler to pass through the 
place as quickly as is compatible with the accom- 
plishm.ent of the object of his visit. As the maxi- 
mum of danger is during the rainy season, it is 
well to defer visiting the isthmus until later. 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

speaking of the houses in Panama reminds me 
of a very interesting feature of Spanish-American 
dwellings in general. No matter how stuffy the 
house may be, there is always an inner court, cor- 
responding to an American backyard, in which the 
family passes much of its time. Although enclosed 
by high walls, perhaps by the walls of adjoining 
buildings, this court is still a breathing space, and 
as cool as may be in so sultry a clime. Adorned 
with palms, flowers and vines, the effect as seen 
through the open street doors is most pleasing. 
The enclosure might appropriately be termed an 
apartment or conservatory without a roof. To me, 
this court seemed the most important feature of 
the houses. Small wonder is it that the inhabitants 
are most often to be found lolling about in their 
own backyards. Business is seemingly a second- 
ary consideration. Manana — to-morrow — is the 
watchword, life being divided between the mid- 
day siesta and the court of palms. 

The pearl fisheries of Panama were once fa- 
mous, but, owing to the reckless way in which 
the natives tore up the oysters, are not very pro- 
ductive. Very large pearls have been taken at the 
pearl islands of the Panama Gulf. It is interesting 
to note that pearls are formed by grains of sand 



IPanama from tbe Ba^ 

getting within the oyster shell and producing irri- 
tation, with resulting lime deposit about the for- 
eign body. 

The bay of Panama is very beautiful, albeit a 
trifle impractical. It is so shallow, and the rise 
and fall of the tide is so great, that ships cannot 
find safe anchorage for several m.iles from shore. 
The offing lies among a group of small, mountain- 
ous islands in the most picturesque spot imagin- 
able. The sea is here ever smooth, and of a blue- 
gray hue that is an excellent foil for those verdant, 
emerald-hued isles that stud the bay like veritable 
gems of the sea. Upon one of these islands, owned 
by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, is a pure, 
sweet-watered spring from which the company's 
steamers are suppHed. 

At the time of one of my visits to 
Panama, a great strike of the dock hands 
and freight handlers was in progress. Not 
a steamer had left port for several v/eeks, hence 
much shipping had accumulated in the harbor. 
Fume and fret as the captains and owners might, 
the dignity of the dollar a day kings was sturdily 
upheld, until great loss on the one side and empty 
stomachs on the other compelled a settlement. 
Meanwhile, the idle ships in the harbor presented 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

a picture fair to see — of which I have a pleasant 
memory, but, alas ! no photograph. Those 
wretched, wretched films ! 

As seen from the deck of the little steamer that 
conveys the traveler to her big sister ship away 
out in the offing, the city of Panama is a sight long 
to be remembered. The odd buildings with their 
beautiful coloring, and, above all, the sea wall with 
its lights and shades, its reds and browns and, here 
and there, the bright green patches of grass, de- 
mand a more artistic pen than mine to do them 
justice. Ah, that beautiful sea wall ! But, most 
beautiful of all was Old Glory, floating joyously 
in the breeze over the American consulate. As I 
looked upon that flag I recalled Mark Twain's 
description of the beautiful stranger ship in In- 
nocents Abroad. Any old town, and any old ship, 
is beautiful where that flag flies. And, by the way, 
it means just a little more than it used to when 
seen in foreign lands, doesn't it? It seems to me 
that every American flag I see in alien ports now- 
adays has upon it the endorsement of Dewey, and 
Sampson, and Schley, and a few other celebrities of 
recent vintage. Such endorsements make the flag 
good collateral. There was a time when the Eng- 
lish Jack shone more resplendently, and demanded 

H Sea TKaant)erer 

more profound obeisance than did the Stars and 
Stripes, wasn't there ? It used to seem that way to 
me, anyway. How times have changed since we 
gave Spain enough Manilla to hang herself with. 
Oh, my! 

^ V^ V^ 

Avaunt, ye regular lines of steamships ! Give 
me an old tramp, a "Wandering WilUe" of the 
ocean, that goeth where it pleaseth the captain, 
and cometh as it pleaseth the elements. Give me 
a ship that starteth according to no man's watch 
and arriveth as only the heart of him who loveth 
the sea could desire. Such an one was the Car- 
pallo. Seedy as to paint, sooty as to sails, grimy 
as to sailors, and with engines that coughed and 
strangled like an old crone with chronic bronchitis, 
that ancient vessel is yet near and dear to my 
heart. Shaky old Carpallo — 'twill not be long ere 
thine ancient bones He bleaching on the sands of 
Half-moon bay. Full oft hast thou rounded the 
classic protuberance of Pigeon's point, but thou 
art too senile to withstand the elements much 
longer. And when thou hast fulfilled thy destiny, 
I know that the last living thing to be seen will be 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

thy doughty captain, standing on the bridge, trum- 
pet in hand, waving his weedy red whiskers defi- 
antly at the howHng storm, and svv'earing at his 
drowning crew in seven languages. 

And why should not good old Captain Mc- 
Gregor swear? He is braw, he is a canny Scot, 
and his crew — great guns, what a crew! Of all 
the conglomerations of nationalities ever brought 
together, that crew was the worst. Russians, Japs, 
Malays, Greeks, Irish, Central-Americans, Ne- 
groes and white Americans, jumbled together with 
but one bond of union — a common knowledge of 
Spanish — and but one feature of homogenity — an 
all-pervading tarry smell. Taken all in all, that 
crew would have put any ordinary band of ancient 
corsairs to the blush. Piercing as to eyes, frown- 
ing as to brows, cruel-visaged, swarthy-skinned, 
and black-moustached — some of the lascars among 
them had a mien suggestive of midnight attacks, 
of cut-throats and poor devils of sailors walking 
the plank. But the crew was really a harmless 
lot. As the burly first officer expressed it, they 
were ''not so bad, after all." To be sure, the offi- 
cers had to go down in the "foc'sle" with their 
six-shooters occasionally, to quell an incipient riot, 
but, aside from an occasional playful stab in some 
luckless sailor's anatomy there was usually no 


Sea SvitQCt^ 

harm done. One man was pointed out to me as 
having been rather worsted in an encounter with 
one of his mates. The latter had secured a 
machete while in port, and, coming up behind his 
luckless co-worker, tried to chop him in two. The 
blow landed upon his left shoulder blade, cutting 
through that bone and the superimposed muscles 
down, down through the ribs to the lung, exposing 
that important organ over a considerable area. 
The ship's doctor was not at hand at the time, and 
consequently the surgery of the case was somewhat 
crude. The patient's arms were trussed back by his 
brother sailors and the wound kept covered with a 
cloth wet with sea water. Strange to say, healing 
was prompt and the unfortunate sailor was soon on 
his pins again. Sea air is a great surgeon, and sea 
water not a bad antiseptic adjuvant, apparently. 

*^ ^ A^ 

How very similar are men of the sea. Like the 
first officer of the Petrel, the rough-and-ready f^r^t>(, 
officer of the Carpallo was a great story-teller. ,jS5>.j 
original, too. One of his stories edified me tQ.^.^, 
degree: Quoth he^ — 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

*'Say, mister, did y'ever hear about th' boy 
who'd been ter sea for a few years, an' went home, 
an' was tellin' his poor old mother sich a lot o' 
tough yarns?" 

When the jolly tar began his tale I was gazing 
pensively over the rail, counting the big turtles 
that were placidly floating past, hence failed to 
recognize my old Atlantic friend. But I was soon 
aroused by — 

"Say, mother," says he, "down in the West 
Indies where I was one time, I saw some big 
mountains of brown sugar and a lot o' rivers a* 
windin' 'round among 'em that was full o' the best 
Jamaiky rum you ever — " 

It was too much ; I fled to the other end of the 
ship and sat down for a chat with the chief en- 
gineer, a most companionable old fellow, who 
seemed to have conceived quite a fancy for me. 
He was taking his evening lay-ofl on deck and 
was as sociable as only a man of the sea can be 
over his pipe. "Ah," I thought, "how much better 
this is than hearing old chestnuts for the hun- 
dreth time." 

"By the way," I said. "Why is it that you sailors 
don't pick up some new stories. Every man who 
has told me a story on this trip has given me the 
same old yarn about " 


Hnotber ©It) ffrtcnD 

"Oh, well," interrupted the engineer, ''that's the 
way with some folks. Now, I always try ter tell 
a new yarn or nothin', an', by the way, speakin' 
o' yarns, here's a brand new one that I picked up 
last trip. Well, you see, 'twas like this. There 
was a boy up in 'Frisco that went ter sea, an' was 
gone about four years. When he got home he was 
tellin' his poor old mother about " 

"Oh, yes," I said, with a gasp, "about mountains 
of sugar, and rivers of rum, and anchors, and 
mermen whose wives go to church, and flying fish 
and " 

"Well, by the great horn spoon! Where the 
devil did you hear that?" 

"Oh," I replied, "I'm a Buddhist. I have been 
on earth before, hundreds and hundreds of times. 
I was at one time an Egyptian, and while in that 
state I once heard Ptolemy the First whisper that 
yarn in the patient, long-suffering ear of the lis- 
tening Sphinx. Oh, yes, it is a great old story." 

And in the poor old engineer's perturbed coun- 
tenance did I find revenge for all that had gone 
before. But 'twas the last straw, and I went down 
to visit the monkeys, parrots and things the sail- 
ors were taking home to their friends. I hoped to 


IPanaina anb tbe Sierras 

get some new stories, which the same was fraught 
with disappointment, for the monkeys and birds 
all talked Spanish, and "amigo'' and "bonita'* 
cajoled them not. 

i^ *^ 4^ 

Somehow I never grow tired of the sea. There 
are those who claim that it is monotonous, but, are 
they not hke the man who could not see the woods 
for the trees ? On the blue Pacific, especially, one 
should never grow weary. There is always some- 
thing to be seen that is instructive and entertain- 
ing, to say nothing of the things that appeal to the 
esthetic faculties. The varying lights and shades 
of the water, the flight of the tireless gulls, the 
multiform and beauteous clouds, the gorgeous sun- 
rises and sunsets, the many-colored seaweed float- 
ing by, the ever-changing moon, the scurry of the 
flying fish — these alone are enough. And what en- 
tertainment the fauna of the Pacific affords. Gulls 
and petrels in infinite variety, flying fish, porpoises, 
whales, black fish, turtles that Vv^ould make an epi- 
cure's mouth water and drive a French chef crazy, 
and snakes ! Don't ever tell me that there are no 


Sea Snaftes an^ Zbims 

such things as sea serpents. I've seen 'em — and, 
confound your sarcasm, I hadn't been drinking, 
either ! Striped in black and yellow, zebra-wise, and 
as "squirmy" as any of their brethren of the land, 
these reptiles wriggled about upon or near the sur- 
face of the water by hundreds. We ran into their 
snakeships somewhere off the coast of Guatemala. 
They swam about us in abundance for a day or two 
and then disappeared. 

Now and again, while in harbor, a huge shark 
would swim lazily about the ship, looking for 
trouble and provender. In some of the ports num- 
bers of big red-snappers could be seen swimming 
about in the clear water. Wary fellows they were, 
too. They turned their noses up contemptuously 
at lines and hooks, no matter how cleverly they 
were baited. I tried to harpoon some of them, 
but my knowledge of the gentle art of spearing 
fish would not make a large book, and I only suc- 
ceeded in losing the respect of the sailors — who 
had probably learned discretion in "harpoonage" 
by experience. So far as I can recollect, there was 
but one fish caught on the entire trip. One of the 
sailors captured a twenty-pounder. Did the scaly 
prize find his way to our table ? Not much. Down 
into the foc'sle he went, and there he staid until 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

the fortunate man and his nearest friends had re- 
duced him to his primitive osteologic elements. 
My, how my mouth watered for one of those 
golden-red beauties ! 

The sailors just missed capturing a hugh shark 
one evening. A ten-footer got on the hook, and 
a great fight he made of it. Everybody rushed 
forward to ^be in at the death. The water was very 
phosphorescent at the time, and the great, ugly 
fish, in his struggles, beat the water into flames 
and fountains of fire. The sailors had him almost 
within reach, when, presto change ! the line broke 
and then — 'well, in the archives of my memory is 
registered a long, swiftly-moving phosphorescent 
streak that marked the exit of that wonderful 
''fish that got away." 

Apropos of sharks, I took occasion while in the 
tropics to make inquiry as to their voraciousness 
in attacking' man. Much to the discredit of the 
**man-eater" of the yellow-covered literature of my 
boyhood's credulous days, I found that most of 
the people who profess to know all about the shark 
and his habits, claim that he rarely attacks man. 
Indeed, many of those who should be good author- 
ity assert that the shark never attacks living man, 
although, like the buzzard of the sea that he is, he 


TTbe Bu33art) ot tbe Sea 

is in no wise averse to devouring dead ones. In 
the bay of Panama, which is thickly infested with 
sharks, I saw not only natives fearlessly diving for 
coin, but white men swimming about with all the 
sang froid imaginable. 

I had almost arrived at the point where I would 
have ibeen willing to go in swimming when — 1 
again changed my mind regarding sharks. I ran 
across a native boatman in Acapulco, one of whose 
friends and comrades was then lying in the hos- 
pital with an amputated leg for which a shark was 
responsible. The poor fellow was diving for 
clams, when Mr. Shark came along, and, being 
not at all prejudiced against a brunette diet, pro- 
ceeded to lunch off tbe native's leg. Tlie man was 
rescued, but not till the member was so badly lac- 
erated that amputation was necessary to save his 
life. Having verified the story by other and re- 
liable witnesses, I crystallized the question of man- 
eating sharks as follows : 

"Do sharks bite?" 

"They do." 

"How often?" 

"Oh, just often enough to keep me from bathing 
in tropic harbors." 

Way down in Florida, once on a time, I was 
frightened by a shark while bathing. One of the 


IPanama an^ tbe Sierras 

''oldest inhabitants" tried to make me believe 'twas 
a porpoise, but as he was "plugging" for that par- 
ticular beach, I knew better. He then proceeded 
to calm my fears by assuring me that "sharks never 
bite in less'n 'ten foot o* water." And so, my nerv- 
ous friends, who fain would loathe on beaches 
which sharks do muchly frequent, be ye consoletl 
and unafraid. Should a leg be bitten off while in 
the salt, salt sea, 'be calm, and measure the depth of 
the water. An' it chance to be "less'n ten foot," 
'twas not a shark, and therefore complain not. 
I fain would remark, in passing, that this rule is not 
covered by copyright. The world is welcome to it. 
For some reason, to me unknown, sharks 
are not so much in evidence in the Central Ameri- 
can and Mexican harbors as they were on my first 
trip, many years ago. Their scarcity on my last 
trip could hardly have been a coincidence, for the 
same was true of my second visit, a year before. 
Time was when they were very thick in those 
waters. Whether they have been gradually leav- 
ing for less frequented and more congenial spots I 
cannot say. Still, scavengers as they are, one 
would expect them to find the more populous 
places better feeding grounds than wilder spots. 
Their disappearance could hardly have been due to 


Hn ©cean Gymnast 

their having been hunted, for they are neither use- 
ful nor ornamental, and the native attitude toward 
them is one of supreme indifference. 

*^ *^ ^ 

It is interesting to watch the antics of the pilot 
fish, who so often dance attendance on the shark. 
The mackerel-like little fellows may be seen play- 
ing about in the water as though out for a frolic. 
A piece of meat is thrown overboard, when, presto 
change, they become very business-like. They ex- 
amine the meat critically and then suddenly dis- 
appear. Presently they return, accompanied by a 
huge shark. Mr. Shark coolly devours the spoils 
while the pilot fish hover about waiting for crumbs. 

i^ V- 3^ 

What is more graceful or prettier than the 
antics of a school of porpoises, playing about the 
bows of a ship? The expression *'fat as a por- 
poise," is a vilification of the wonderful creatures. 
Plump, sleek and round, they may be — they are yet 
so swih as to shame the fastest vessel. How like 
lightning they dart recklessly athwart the (bows as 


Panama an& tbe Sierras 

if defying the ship to strike them. And with what 
nonchalance they dart away, falling far astern, or 
diverging widely from the ship's course, only to 
overtake the vessel again without apparent effort! 
Suddenly, without known reason save their erratic 
playfulness, they disappear and not one is to be 
seen, perhaps for hours and hours, then they can 
be seen by the dozen on all sides, leaping and dart- 
ing through the water, always headed toward the 
bow of the vessel. High up out of the sea they 
leap, as if vying with each other in porpoise ath- 
letics, the sun shining upon their sleek sides, and 
the vapor jetting up from their blow-holes like the 
spouting of so many miniature whales. And how 
they puff — "like porpoises" — ^as they spurn and 
churn the water with their powerful double-pad- 
dled tails. When, at night, the water is phos- 
phorescent, a school of porpoises may often be 
seen careering about the bows with fiery scintilia- 
tions, like so many rockets. Ghostly shapes they 
seem as they dart to and fro, leaving a silvery, 
showery trail that marks their course for many 
yards. O'n such nights the porpoise might be 
called, not ineptly, *'the comet of the seas." And 
the porpoise is so sociable, too. He should really 
be named the "diplo-porpoise," for he travels two 
and two. He may travel two-four-six, but he evi- 


H *'Scrapper" ot tbe Sea 

dently avoids odd numbers, at least the odd por- 
poise is a rarity. If there is anything happier, 
jollier, or more agile than a school of porpoises on 
mischief bent, I have not yet seen it. 

*i 4i 4i 

We have been led to believe that, without the 
modern newspaper and its "scrap talk" pugilism 
would be a lost art. This is not true. We had no 
newspaper on board to recount the wordy and 
other battles of the fighters, yet marine champions 
were greatly in evidence. When a thrasher starts 
out for championship honors and chances to meet 
with a huge whale, the casual observer is apt to 
conclude that marine pugilism is a very earnest 
affair. The thrasher himself is really a small mem- 
ber of the whale family, but vv^hat he lacks in size 
he makes up in ferocity. He is only a middle- 
weight, at best, but so belligerent is he that he is 
wilHng, aye, even anxious, to go out of his class 
and concede weight. His big relative is his special 
antipathy, and he will go far out of his way to 
make life miserable for him. The resulting com- 
bat reminds me of a fight between a kingbird and 
a hawk. The blubbery leviathan of the seas is 


Panama anD the Sierras 

too clumsy for his smaller anteg^onist, and busies 
himself largely in efforts to escape, meanwhile do- 
ing the best he can to land a "knock-out" with his 
huge tail upon his foe's anatomy, in which effort 
he signally fails. On the other hand, Mr. 
Thrasher, with his nim^bler and quicker tail- 
strokes, slaps away at the big fellow until one 
wishes that a referee were at hand to stop the one- 
sided rumpus. 

I have never seen the end of one of these sea 
fig-hts, but, I presume, the thrasher keeps up the 
battle until he is tired of the ftin or has drowned 
his gigantic foe. The thrasher is by no means a 
fair fighter. When he especially wishes to make 
a finish fight with a whale, he hires a sword-fish to 
help him, and then 'tis "all day" with the poor 
leviathan — he is hammered and thrashed, and 
strangled and punctured, until he is only too glad 
to give up the fight — and the ghost. 

Whales become very numerous along the Pacific 
coast as the more northern and colder waters are 
reached. After passing Cape San Lucas, es- 
pecially, they become very abundant. They do not 
average very large in these waters, however, al- 
though huge fellows are occasionally to be seen, 
spouting away as if they were employed to furnish 


H 3Burial at Sea 

sea-fountains at so much per day. From these big 
"right whales" the size scales down to that of those 
lesser sea mammals which are minimized under 
the misnomer, "black-fish." 

i^ *^ 4^ 

It devolved upon a poor unfortunate fellow in 
the steerage of our 'ship to demonstrate conclu- 
sively the dangers of tarrying at Panama. This 
man had taken passage on a ship upon the Atlantic 
side,v/hich failed to connect at the city of Panama 
with any of the regular line steamers. After a few 
days' delay he secured passage on our ship. It 
seemis that during his stay in Panama the unlucky 
man stopped with a family in the poorer quarter of 
the city. For some reason he could not drink 
other fluids, and especially the universal beverage, 
wine, and was compelled to drink the notoriously 
bad water, which, in his ignorance, was taken un- 
boiled. Whether infected water or germ-laden air 
was responsible for his illness will never be known, 
but he was brought aboard the vessel ill and was 
put to bed, never to rise again. Why he was per- 
mitted to take passage would be difficult to con- 
jecture, for not only the lives of the passengers 


IPanama an^ tbe Sierras 

and crew, but also — what was doubtless more im- 
portant in the eyes of the owners — ^^the commercial 
interests of the vessel were put in hazard. But, be 
that as it may, the person most vitally interested 
will never offer an explanation. He died one 
afternoon while we lay in the port of San Jose de 

I did not see the case, nor was I even supposed 
to be a physician, hence it may be presumptuous in 
me to venture an opinion, but, from the variety of 
mysterious and inconsistent diagnoses offered by 
the ship's doctor, the speedy termination of the 
case, the amount of carbolic acid with which the 
corpse was inundated, the unseemly haste of the 
burial, and the naive statement of the doctor in 
charge that his patient would have gotten well 
"only his kidneys struck work and he died of 
uremia," I drew certain inferences which hardly 
demanded the corroboration afforded by the com- 
ment of one of the dead man's steerage compan- 
ions, that "he was awful jandiced 'fore he died." 
But then, after all. Yellow Jack is a nasty thing to 
appear on a ship's record, and quarantine is so 
tedious and expensive that I was glad to land at 
my destination without bother. Again, I don't 
mind all the yellow fever germs in Central 


a JSurial at Sea 

America — here in my Chicago home. The bacillus 
icteroides has no terrors for me, now that I am on 
dry land amid our lake breezes. 

My calling should have made me callous to 
such experiences, for the physician usually comes 
to look upon death as being quite as natural as 
life, and, therefore, not a thing to be abhorred, 
but, somehow, this was different. I had witnessed 
a burial at sea before — when a lad — 'but the re- 
sponsibilities of Hfe sat lightly upon me then, and 
I was more entertained by the novelty of the affair 
than stirred to my inmost depths by its gravity. 
But, in the mature and full realization of all that 
unfortunate death and far-away burial meant to 
the family and friends of the dead man, who, in the 
full 'bloom of health and rugged manhood, had left 
them only three short weeks before, I could not 
but be profoundly moved. Were he pauper or mil- 
lionaire, 'twould have been the same — overboard 
he would have gone. The wise native authorities 
of San Jose would not permit a land interment, 
hence burial at sea was imperative. 

Jl^ ^ ^ 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

The dusk of the tropic evening was just begin- 
ning to settle upon the hills of the Guatemalan 
coast as we weighed anchor and stood out to sea. 
The moon was rising like a great orange-red ball, 
when, at the imperative behest of the signal bell, 
the engines slowed up and finally became still. 
Very few of the passengers and crew knew of the 
death and contemplated funeral. With bared 
heads these few stodd silently and reverently 
around the canvas-wrapped body while the captain 
read the brief and solemn words of the sea burial 
service. The long, ghastly canvas cerements, with 
the weight of clumsy furnace-iron at the foot — for 
we had no shot— ^lost all their obtrusive hideous- 
ness under the folds of our glorious Stars and 
Stripes. The body, feet foremost, lay upon a plat- 
form extending out over the foc'sle rail, so that 
only a slight inclination was necessary to precipi- 
tate it into the sea. Just as the captain finisihed the 
beautiful service for the dead, the moon, now well 
up in the heavens, emerged from behind a bank cf 
fleece-Hke clouds, illumining the final scene with 
a flood of dazzling tropic beams. ''Let go !" com- 
manded the captain, tersely, as he removed the 
flag. The platform was tilted over the rail, and 
''swish !" with a noise like a rocket in beginning 
flight, down, down went the body into the calm, 


a (Bruesome iPtobabiUts 

waveless sea. The foot weight was hardly suffi- 
cient, or, perchance, the incHne was tipped too 
much, and the body lurched forward as it fell, strik- 
ing the water with a loud splash that gave one 
creepy chills to hear. The ghostly thing then set- 
tled slowly down, and with a gurgling sound as of 
suction, and a wavy undulating motion, disap- 
peared from sight as might so much offal or the 
carcass of a dead dog. Why should this be hor- 
rible? Well, because the poor fellow was alone 
and friendless; because his burial away off there 
in the broad Pacific added to (his death an extra 
sting for 'the dear ones he left at home, and more 
especially because the second mate answered, sen- 
tentiously, when I asked him how deep the water 
was at the place of burial — 

"Well, it's about two miles er thereabouts ter 
bottom, but he'll never git there." 

"Oh," I said, "t'he pressure of the water, you 
think, will bring the 'body to a standstill. But, you 
know, that's disputed." 

"Pressure, h — 1!" he replied; "sharks, sir, 
sharks !" 

if^ » V^ 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

"What is so rare as a day in June?" Pick your 
spot for the June day, my friend, and I'll more than 
match it with an evening- upon the Pacific. Would 
that I had the 'brain and pen of a Loti or a Hearn, 
to depict the exquisite beauty of those tropic 
nights, so filled witih the dreamy, sensuous loveli- 
ness of glimmering sea and sky, with that faint 
suggestion of mist, a dim, almost invisible purplish 
veil, through which blazed forth the glory of tropic 
stars. Venus, our star of evening, oft threw a 
slender, brilliant shaft from the jeweled dome o'er- 
head to the waveless mirror below. Should the 
imagination -wander, it were not difficult to fancy 
that silver beam a fitting path by which the souls 
of shipwrecked mariners, supposed to be incar- 
nate in the bodies of roving sea gulls by day, might 
ascend to rest at night. 

It is by no means strange that the novelist so 
often has recourse to the sea for his love episodes. 
The quality of the human material from which he 
manufactures them does not matter much, I fancy. 
[The enchantment wrought by the romantic beauty 
of a summer night on a southern sea is all-suffi- 
cient. The occasion is so propitious and the stage 
setting so complete that all the author has to do 
is to throw a couple of human beings of different 


Wbite IRtgbts 

sexes upon the boards and the deed is done. I 
suspect that even a noveHst of mean abiHty would 
not find it difficult to construct a tender romance 
!V/ith a couple of mannikins and the assistance of a 
tropic night at sea. Even the pale, dead moon is 
thawed and warmed to glowing fiery life, as it 
emerges from a horizon fanned by breezes of 
Elysian mildness. The most prosaic nature must 
needs be inspired by flights of poetic fancy. To 
me, as I lolled back in my steamer chair and puffed 
my lonely cigar — iwhich seemed so commonplace 
— the beauty of those nights had no alloy save its 
evanescence. Slow as our good ship was, we were 
leaving the tropics behind all too swiftly. The 
gulf of space between me and the work-a-day 
world seemed infinite, yet it would soon be passed. 
Beyond that gulf lay overcoaits, and steam heat, 
and work — and I don't like work. 

Oftentimes when the moon was at its full, I 
was wont to go to the bow and watch the play of 
the phosphorescence upon the water. This 
phenomenon is especially fine on the Pacific, off 
Central America, where it transcends all that I 
have ever read or seen of it. The waves seemed 
mingled with lambent fire, which, dazzling white 
upon their crests, broke into line after line of 
varying shades of scintillant red, green, lilac and 


Panama ant> tbe Sierras 

blue. As the Vv^ater was churned up by the ship's 
bows, the play of beautiful colors spread out and 
out, fan^wise, for many yards, until ithey were lost 
in flickering rosy gleams upon the outermost line 
of dying waves. Now and again a porpoise leaped 
out of the sea, the many-colored water dripping 
from his shining sides, and, plunging back into the 
depths with a resounding splash, added to the com- 
motion that was so essential to the play of the 
beautiful, luminous waves. Beneath the water he 
was a meteor, with a trail of showery sparks ; 
when he leaped out of it, he scattered color about 
in a prodigal fashion that would have driven an 
artist out of his wits. And Sir Porpoise is no mean 
painter himself. His handiwork may be but a re- 
flection of the joy within him, but it is marvelous, 
just the same. Such fantastic and varying shapes 
and masses of color ! Just as one exclaims, ''Ah ! 
that's the prettiest yet," the rainbow-crested wave 
breaks into a dozen new forms, each more beauti- 
ful and fantastic than that which has gone before. 

4^ > i^ 


H Beautiful Coastline 

A recent writer in one of our monthly maga- 
zines, in describing a trip down the Mexican and 
Central American coast, from San Francisco, stig- 
matized the scenery as monotonous and uninter- 
esting. Now, it may be that my taste is per- 
verted, or, perchance, it all depends on whether 
one is headed toward Frisco or away from that in- 
teresting town. Possibly our captious critic saw 
so many beautiful features in the landscape that 
he experienced a surfeit of tliem. Or, still more 
likely, he frequented the wrong side of the boat 
and grew full sore in that he did not see the shores 
of the Orient, thousands of miles av\^ay. What- 
ever the explanaition may have been, that critic 
had best dip his pen in ink and throw away his 
indigo bottle the next time he writes of that won- 
derful coast. 

Seen from the deck of a steamer, the course of 
which is not too far out at sea, the coast, from 
Panama clear to Frisco, is one majestic, beautiful 
panorama. Wonderful mountains, cloud-capped 
and grim, standing out on the horizon miles away 
from, the coast, yet looking near at hand ; a shore 
line studded with low hills and rocky clififs, with 
here and there a stretch of cottony white surf and 
snowy sands, and, at frequent intervals, the most 
remarkable land-locked harbors imaginable — are 


|>anama an^ tbc Sierras 

these features of monotony ? Many of the hills are 
parti-colored, the varying shades of the scanty 
vegetation, rocks and soil that cover them being 
■brought out most beautifully by the rays of the 
blazing sun, whose heat we must needs condone 
because of the beauty he lends to the scenery. 
Viewed in tlhe early morning, before the sun has 
driven away the spectral mists of the tropic night, 
that coast line is exquisitely beautiful. A bluish 
haze hangs over all, -wliilst the billowy white clouds, 
receiving as they do the first rays of the rising 
sun — for Old Sol must needs cliniib up and over 
those mountains to the eastward, ere he can make 
himself felt upon the coast — gleam like masses of 
snow, yet with a translucency suggestive of huge 
and massive pearls. Monotonous? Where were 
your eyes, my gentle critic? Are those tall, feath- 
ery palms and quaint buildings upon the shore, 
monotonous ? Is there aught of monotony in those 
gayly-dressed groups of women and children bath- 
ing upon that far-away beach? And can you see 
naught worthy of admiration or interest in those 
canoes that flock about the ship whilst in harbor, 
with their loads of quaint and beautiful things to 
tempt the curiosity of the Gringo and part him 
from that good American money? And the mon- 
key-like antics of those brown-skinned natives, as 


IPacitic Ibatbor IRotcs 

they load the ship with coffee or bullion from the 
barges — is there nothing picturesque or interest- 
ing about them? Why, man, what would you? 
Did not nature throw in an active volcano there at 
•Acajutla just to amuse you and stir your 'blood? 
Monotonous, indeed! Go to, get tjiee to the 
Union Stockyards in seardh of thine ideals of the 

y *^ A^ 

Punta Arenas, Costa Rica — 'Corinto, Nicaragua 
— La Libertad and Acajutla, Salvador — San Jose, 
Champerico, and Ocos, Guatemala — how far away 
those towns seem now. It was pleasant to visit 
them under such favorable circumstances. Our 
good ship staid in each port just long enough to 
enable me to study the place and its people to the 
best advantage. 

A description of one Central American harbor is 
practically a description of all of them, so far as 
the characteristics of the natives are concerned. 
Variations in scenery there are, it is true, but to 
recount these would be an onerous and gratuitous 
task. That 'twould be a laborious and redundant 
description will be at once understood when I state 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

that our good ship touclied at no less than twelve 
ports on her way up the coast, including several 
Mexican ports — ai which more anon. 

Some of the hai^bors are evidently so-called for 
courtesy's sake, as they consist of an unbroken 
shore line, on which there chance to be no reefs, 
and ships can therefore come within a reasonable 
distance of the shore without danger. Wherever 
there is a safe anchorage the place is considered a 
harbor. In many instances, on the other hand, the 
harbor consists of a land-locked bay or inlet, sur- 
rounded by beautiful mountains. In most of the 
ports our vessel was detained at least a day, giving 
•me an excellent opportunity for observation. 

The principal Central American traffic of our 
ship was in coffee. We subsequently made a 
specialty of bullion, at some of the Mexican ports. 
At the various ports of San Salvador, especially, 
we took aboard hundreds of bags of coffee. The 
cofifee is brought off in sacks on huge barges, and 
hoisted aboard the ship by a rope and windlass. 
As the ground swell of the sea is often consider- 
able, the transportation and unloading is rather 
slow work at times. Then, too, who ever knew a 
native Central-American or Mexican to hurry, and, 
by the rood, they can't hurry, and live. 


iRestino as an Btt 

Apropos of the deliberation with which the na- 
tives work, however, the infinite capacity of these 
people for rest is all in their favor. The more ac- 
tive and energetic man from the North goes to 
work down there and kills himself in a few months. 
If he doesn't kill himself v/ith work, he does it by 
worrying about his work or his prospects of get- 
ting work. Not so your native. He does his work 
when he comes to it, not before. If his comrade 
on the 'barge is helping to load the rope with sacks 
of coffee, does he stand around fretting and mak- 
ing suggestions until his own turn comes? Oh, 
no, he gracefully rolls and lights a cigarette, mean- 
while lolling back in a comfortable, restful atti- 
tude upon the bags of coffee lying in the bottom of 
the barge. Every movement, every posture, is 
characterized by a sinuous grace which announces 
that his m.uscles are in a state of comparative rest. 
Not one bit of energy does he v/aste. He is a true 
conservator of energy, likewise a philosopher. 
Even though he is to have but a few seconds' re- 
pose before his turn comes at the rope, 'he imme- 
diately falls into a languid, graceful posture and 
out comes the inevitable cigarette. As he rolls 
and lig^hts his fragrant, inseparable companion, his 
muscles fall unconsciously into easy, restful, grace- 
ful curves and lines that in an American would 


Panama anl^ tbe Sierras 

seem the height of affectation, but which in him 
are simply the instinctive accompHshment of mus- 
cular movement along the lines of least resistance 
— which is synonymous with graceful motion. 

I was much amused one morning 'by the per- 
formances of tthe oarsmen on the coffee barges. 
A barge lying alongside had not yet finished dis- 
charging cargo. Another, fully loaded, came 
along and got near enough for its captain to dis- 
cover that his predecessor had a few bags of coffee 
yet unloaded. Like a flash, the oars were un- 
shipped and inclined against the gunwale, and 
every man Jack of the leather-hued crew had dis- 
appeared. I climbed up a little way in ithe rigging 
where I could look down upon them, and there the 
lazy beggars were, lounging about in graceful 
abandon upon the coffee sacks. Some were smok- 
ing cigarettes, some engaged in day dreams, oth- 
ers, with their hats over their eyes, were taking a 
nap, while a few were frolicking with each other 
as lazily as they could and yet appear to frolic. 
Within five minutes the other barge made way 
for them, when up they bobbed and pulled away 
at the oars as lustily as though they had never 
thought of resting. 

But these natives of the tropics can nevertheless 
accomplish a surprising amount of work. Small, 


H Bcw ^treatment 

round-limibed, graceful monkeys that they are, the 
average northern laborer cannot keep pace with 
them, day in and day out. The secret of which is 
that the native laborer works only When his task is 
before him ; he frets not ; neither does he hasten, 
but he gets results all 'the same. 

A suggestion, please — only a suggestion, mind 
you. Would it not be practicable to prepare an 
anti-neurotic serum from those Central Americans 
with which to inoculate against the "American 
disease,'' neurasthenia? I fancy I could use a few 
pounds of it in my own practice to good advan- 
tage — ^perchance an ounce or two migiht not be a 
bad thing for self-treatment. I wouldn't mind rest- 
ing all the time. 

It was interesting to note the peculiarities of the 
feet of the natives. They are short, broad and 
''stubby-toed," with a high-arched instep, but the 
most prehensile feet I have ever seen. As the 
barefooted fellows move about over the sacks of 
coffee in the barges, their feet are suggestive of a 
Simian type, so flexible and prehensile are they. 
Not that this is to be greatly wondered at — those 
feet are simply whait the human foot should be 
when free and unconfined for a few generations. 
It is t^e baby's foot perpetuated by systematic 
avoidance of shoes. 


Panama anb tbe Sierras 

The facilities lor getting ashore in Central 
American ports are a variable quantity. Little in- 
ducement, apparently, is held out to visitors. Two 
big, round American dollars was the tariff imposed 
by the genial boatmen who flocked about us at 
San Jose de Guatemala. And should the unwary 
passenger consent to be fleeced by the boatmen, he 
finds that on reaching the shore he must pay an 
import duty of a dollar or so on himself, else he 
cannot land. When he returns he finds an export 
duty of another dollar laid upon him before he can 
re-embark en route to 'the ship. Oh, they know 
a good thing when they see it, down there at San 

Should one wish to go ashore on one of the 
regular combined passenger and freight barges, he 
must needs be lowered to the barge from the ship 
in a sort of box, with a capacity of four persons. 
In an emergency, four people, a valise and a cat 
can be crowded into this contrivance. Arriving at 
the shore a similar box is employed to land the 
passengers at the pier. The method is safe enough, 
perhaps, but not at all pleasant for people with 
shaky nerves. In some ports, however, no other 
method of getting to and from the vessel is prac- 
ticable. The swell is so great that a small boat, 
no matter liov/ seaworthy or skilfully handled, 


TUnwfoolesome pets 

would be crusihed against the iron sides of the 
ship Hke an egg-shell. 

I do not know why there should be so many 
formaUties and expenses about landing at San 
Jose. The town is by no means impressive, albeit 
the harbor is a very pretty one. The place is, at 
best, merely the port of entry for the city of Guate- 
mala, situated some distance inland by rail, which 
is not only the capital of Guatemala, but a very 
pretentious city of some sixty thousand inhabitants 
and considerable social, political and commercial 

I could enjoy visiting Central American seaport 
towns much more thoroughly were it not for the 
buzzards that are to he seen in countless numbers 
on every hand. Ugh! What nasty, sickening 
things they are. And with what insolent familiar- 
ity they hover around the homes of the people, like 
so many pet chickens. Fences, ridge-poles and 
roofs are bedecked with them. They hover lazily 
about, or roost upon the various buildings as 
thickly as pigeons in a country farmyard. They 
are useful as scavengers, grant you that, but they 
disfigure the landscape, and, where people are 
clean, buzzards do not roost on the front gate. 
Whatever arguments may be advanced in his fa- 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

vor, the buzzard is an unwholesome, unsightly, dis- 
gusting blemish on the face of good old Mother 
'Nature. I, for one, herewith vote for his abolish- 

It is unfortunate that the little Central Ameri- 
can republics cannot get along without frequent 
civil strife. A week or two without a revolution is 
a rarity. Salvador is perihaps the most peaceful, 
as it is the most prosperous of them. 

Apropos of revolutions, a good story is told of 
a recent rumpus in Guatemala. An officer was sent 
from the capital into -the hill country for volun- 
teers for the regular army. A few days later a ser- 
geant appeared with a dozen or so sorry-looking 
natives, who were about the most unenthusiastic 
recruits that could be imagined. Some were tied 
together, two and two, some were mounted on lit- 
tle donkeys, with their bare brown legs tied to- 
gether under the animals' bellies ; still others were 
tied to the donkeys' tails. The sergeant bore a 
letter from the recruiting officer to the President, 
reading — 

"Your Excellency : — I herewith send a lot of re- 
cruits. If you want more volunteers, send more 

i^ V^ » 


Some ffellow Vo^a^cts 

As we stopped at the various ports we added to 
our list of passengers. And picturesque additions 
they were, too. Native Central-American men, 
women and children, Mexicans, Japanese and Chi- 
nese, of varying social s'tatus, with an occasional 
American or English tourist, were all in evidence. 
There was a fair sprinkHng of coffee planters of 
dififerent nationalities. The Mexican women were 
like most of their male compatriots, much given 
to the smoking of cigarettes — and such powerful 
cigarettes ! One of those paper-covered atrocities 
would suffice to kill half a dozen of our American 
"Willie-boys." And yet, they were not evil-smell- 
ing. Toned down and diluted by the ocean air, 
they were fragrant enough. But our Mexican lady 
passengers did not stop at cigarettes — ^some of 
them smoked big black cigars. Which is another 
reason why I cannot enthuse over the Spanish- 
American type of female. There are no sentiment- 
provoking properties in the most scientific blend- 
ing of tobacco and garUc. 

They were a picturesque lot, though, and I spent 
hours and hours watching them as they stood 
about in little groups, gayly laughing and chatting, 
smoking their cigarettes or big cheroots and play- 
ing with their undeniably pretty children. My 
camera was omnipresent at such times, but I had 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

very little opportunity to use it. The women were 
superstitious, apparently, the children timid, and 
the men mighty ug"ly. 

I was especially desirous of getting a picture of 
one very interesiting Mexican family, and tried as- 
siduously to secure it for some days, without suc- 
cess. Mamma looked upon me with disfavor, her 
little child was as shy as she was picturesque, and 
paterfamilias — my conscience, but he was an ugly 
brute ! Every time I looked toward his wife and 
interesting progeny when my camera happened to 
be in sight, he looked poniards, and machetes, and 
pistols at me. He kept me wondering how long a 
dirk he had concealed albout him and where he car- 
ried it. But, one fine day, I caught Mr. Mexicano 
and the old girl off guard. The light was bad and 
the little one in shadow, but I got a picture all the 
same. As may be observed, papa and mamma 
had their ugly mugs turned in the other direction. 
My sullen-browed Mexican friend heard the snap 
of the shutter and turned around just too late to 
catch me. I was serenely counting the gulls that 
were sailing past. 

At 4^ 4^ 


: i^moimtximK 

Zhc ^Bailors' pets 

Speaking of gulls, it may not be uninteresting to 
those who have never sailed along the Pacific coast 
to know that these *birds are here to be found in 
greater numbers and variety than in almost any 
part of the world. In the ports they may be seen by 
thousands. On the open sea they are also met with 
in great abundance. There seems to be a marked 
difference between the harbor gulls and .those en- 
countered outside. Stupidity, laziness, and a gen- 
erally dirty and disreputable appearance character- 
ize the former, while the latter are keener-witted, 
more active, cleaner-looking, and as handsome 
birds as one could wish to see. The harlDor gull is 
a pampered, bloated, fat-bodied loafer to whom a 
living comes easily, whilst his brother of the open 
sea is a lean and hungry liustler. Tid-bits do not 
often come ihis way, and he fain must fight for all 
he gets. And what a number of different kinds of 
these beautiful birds one sees on a voyage up that 
delightful coast. Even a non-expert has no diffi- 
culty in distinguishing half a dozen varieties. Just 
after the steamer passed Cape San Lucas there ap- 
peared a large black species of gull, or, more ac- 
curately, perhaps, a variety of albatross. These 
are magnificent birds, many of which measure fully 
eight feet from wing-tip to wing-tip. Built for air- 
ships these birds certainly are, for fheir wings are 


©anama nnb tbe Sierras 

so long and their legs so clumsy that it takes them 
some time to dispose of these members satisfactor- 
ily when they alight upon the water. The black 
fellows are by no means so friendly as the gray and 
white ones, but keep a respectful distance from the 
ship. They also, apparently, treat their smaller 
brethren with respect. I suspect that, despite his 
warlike mien, the black gull is a very non-com- 
bative bird. 

How a flock of gulls manages to keep up with a 
ship night and day is a mystery. Day after day I 
have marked them by some peculiarity — a broken 
leg being very useful in this regard — and have set- 
tled to my own satisfaction the fact that they were 
the identical birds that had begun following us at 
.some distant point along the coast. Sailors usu- 
ally claim that the birds roost upon the vessel at 
night, but I half suspect that this assertion is often 
made to protect the reputation of their vessel as a 
fast sailer. This would have been a reasonable as- 
sumption in the case of the Carpallo. My own 
candid opinion is that the gulls used to take a nap 
in the water from time to time, and caught up 
with the ship without much trouble when their nap 
was out. In the day-time their chief difficulty 
seemed to be to fly slowly enough to keep abreast 
or just astern of the pokey old ship. 


H IReal %ivc Dolcano 

Just before San Francisco was reached the big 
black birds disappeared. Soon afterward the clean 
white and gray fellows who had followed us for so 
long also vanished, their places being taken by 
the dirty-looking Frisco harbor gulls. 

I s'hould have liked to capture a few specimens 
of gulls for souvenirs, ibut the superstitious sailors 
would have none of it. They believe that when a 
sailor dies his soul enters the body of a gull and 
never quits the sea, iDUt sails on and on forever. 

v2^ -3^ >8^ 

Perhaps the most interesting of the Central 
American harbors is Acajutla, Salvador. Not only 
is the scenery of this harbor picturesque in gen- 
eral, Ibut it is enlivened by a real, active volcano, 
Izalco. At each of my visits to Acajutla, this vol- 
cano was extremely entertaining. Whether to 
show off before company or not I cannot say, but 
the smoky old fellow was on his best l^ehavior. At 
intervals of fifteen or twenty minutes a cloud of 
smoke and a stream of lava would pour slowly 
forth, and, settling down about the volcano's apex, 
conceal it from view for some time. At night the 
glowing lava was a very pretty sight, indeed. The 


Panama anD tde Stertas 

natives quite generally hold the opinion that this 
volcano will one day undergo a serious eruption 
and destroy the little (town. Judging from the 
numher of extinct volcanoes to be seen along the 
coast, however, it is more likely that this one will 
some day meet the fate of its dead companions and 
also become extinct. Long before reaching Aca- 
jutla, and long after that port v/as left behind, we 
could see that lonely volcano belching forth for the 
information of all and sundry, credentials which 
proved that it was indeed not ''any old hill," but in 
a special class by itself, so far as that coast was 
concerned. To be sure, there are other volcanoes 
scattered along the coast — ^Chonco, Viego, Telico, 
Santa Clara, Agua, Fuego and Colima. All these 
lay claim to the title, but they died long since and 
have no right to it. 

4^ 4^ 4^ 

The loading and unloading of coffee had lost 
their novelty, and it was with joy that I hailed the 
news that the next stop would be in Mexico, and 
that Guatemala, the cofifee paradise, being left 
behind, we would see no more coffee barges. 
There had been symptoms of proximity to Mexico 


/iDete H)t06s 

for several days. Sombreros had put in an ap- 
pearance among t'he roustabouts in the harbors, 
and Vera Cruz cigars at $2,00 the hundred — ^fine 
cigars they were, too — had begun to appear on 
board. Before long the roustabouts and freight 
handlers were all sombreroed, and the bags of cof- 
fee were replaced by hundreds o^f pounds of gold 
and silver bullion and pigs of tin. How strange it 
seemed to see those piratic-looking natives hand- 
ling thousands of dollars' worth of the precious 
metals as nonchalantly as though they were baser 
stuff! Looking over the rail one day, I saw lying 
alongside a barge loaded with 'bars of silver, worth 
probably $100,000. On top of the silver was care- 
lessly laid a couple of bars of gold, valued, I was 
told, at thirty thousand dollars. A fortune this, 
and had it been in the streets of Chicago it would 
have been guarded by a special detail of police. 
The only guard there was, however, consisted of a 
handsome half-grown Mexican lad, who lay sleep- 
ing on some empty coffee sacks in the stern of the 
barge, his bare brown feet resting against the 
pile of valualble stuff as if it were so much rubbish. 
A careless way to handle gold and silver, eh? 
Don't you ever think it. Gold and silver bullion are 
too bulky and heavy for a pilferer to get away with 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

down in that country. Just imagine that boy grab- 
bing a huge bar cf gold and trying to swim ashore 
with it ! 

Several Mexican places at which we touched — 
San Benito, Tonala, Salina Cruz and Port Angel — 
are ports of little importance and do not merit de- 

Ai *^ J^ 

I was sitting on a pile of rope forward one after- 
noon, when, to my surprise, I noticed that the ship 
seemed to be aiming directly for shore. As it was 
broad daylight, and the peculiar course of the ves- 
sel seemed to be the result of deliberate intent on 
the part of the quartermaster at the wheel, I was in 
no wise disconcerted thereby, yet I took the liberty 
of asking the first mate for an explanation. "Why," 
said he, "there's Acapulco, dead ahead. Don't you 
see it?" Of course, I admitted that I saw it, al- 
though I did not in the least. The ship kept on 
toward the shore, hovv^ever, and soon entered the 
narrow inlet of the bay of Acapulco, Mexico. As 
the ship passed through the mountain-bordered 
gateway into the harbor, I wondered how on earth 



the mate expected me, an inexperienced land-lub- 
ber, to see that blessed town, concealed as it is 
from view when one is on the open sea. 

The bay of Acapulco is far and away the best 
harbor between Panama (and San Francisco, with 
the exception of the bay of San Diego. It is com- 
pletely landlocked, and almost circular in form, 
connecting with the Pacific by a deep, narrow 
channel between the hills — a channel that could 
be very easily defended should the necessity arise. 

The scene that meets the eye on entering the 
harbor of Acapulco is distinctly tropic. The tall 
palms along the shore, the numerous varieties of 
cacti on the sides of the hills and the queer palm- 
thatched huts upon the beach are especially 
characteristic. As much of the town lies upon sev- 
eral slopes that face the bay, its peculiar buildings 
of varying color, intermingled with squalid adobe 
huts, could be distinctly seen from the deck of our 
ship. In plain view upon a neighboring hill stands 
an ancient Spanish convent, which, I believe, is still 
occupied by the devout sisters. 

The most unique feature of the bay is an ancient 
fort — a. travesty upon modern fortifications — that 
surmounts an elevated peninsula immediately upon 
the water front. Quaintly picturesque is this old 
fort, with its embrasured walls and pudgy-looking 


©anama mb tbe Sierras 

cannon, but as a guardian of the rights and safety 
of the harbor and town, it is a pitiful failure. Time 
was when this relic of glory past and gone was 
considered impregnable. Our Mexican friends 
have ever been slow to appreciate the onward 
march of improvements in the art oi war. They 
might even now be laboring under the delusion that 
the old fort is invincible, had it not been for a lit- 
tle incident that occurred during the war between 
Mexico and the United States. One of our men- 
of-war that happened to be knocking about on 
pleasure bent, made a little social call at Acapulco 
one day, for the purpose of paying the respects of 
the American government to its commandante. 
That gentleman being somewhat ruffled in spirit 
because the captain of the man-of-war was appar- 
ently unafraid of his formidable fort, was so inhos- 
pitable as to resent the neigliborly call and train 
his guns upon the American ship. The result was 
that in less than fifteen minutes the conceit which 
the inihabitants of Acapulco had been harboring for 
so many generations regarding that wonderful fort 
was knocked completely out of them. I, for one, 
am thankful that the fort was not entirely de- 
stroyed, for it is one of the most interesting struc- 
tures I have ever seen. It is now used as a mili- 
tary prison and barracks, and although very little 


If Capture a fort 

is now claimed for it as a fortification, visiting it is 
hedged around !by difficulties. Whether the pow- 
ers that be are afraid that the little white-uni- 
formed, brown-skinned soldiers may be stolen, or 
desire to keep the plan of the fort and its formid- 
able armament from falling into the hands of alien 
powers, is a question. It may have been risky — 
who knows? — but I took a couple of snap shots, 
and was later delighted to find that the picturesque 
old fort, with its ancient moat and drawbridge, 
showed up to good advantage in the pictures. 

^ » »- 

Did I go ashore at Acapulco? Well, yes, and 
glad I am that I went. Negotiations were readily 
made with one of the throng of boatmen who 
flocked about the ship. As each one clamored that 
his craft was "de bes' a boat on de bay, sefior," 
it seemed safe enough to choose one hit or miss. 
My selection proved to be a wise one ; the boat was 
staunch and the ^rowers, little fellows though they 
were, strong, sturdy and boatmen to the manner 
born. And skill is really necessary in those Mexi- 
can harbors. The water is none too smooth, and 


Panama an& tbe Sierras 

'tis easy enough to give one a spill in the swell or 
smasih the little boat against the tough flanks of 
the ship. 

The beauties of the hai'bor impress one more 
than ever on the boat trip to the shore. The 
beach, in particular, is very attractive — especially 
so, I fancy, because of the characteristically- 
dressed natives who flock to the landing to watch 
the approach of strangers. 

A quaint, characteristic old town, that Acapulco,. 
and quaint and ancient-looking it must long re- 
main, for there is no railroad and very little pros- 
pect of getting one. 

Like all Mexican towns of any pretensions, Aca- 
pulco has a central plaza, with beautiful palms and 
a profusion of tropic plants and flowers, surround- 
ing a bandstand, from which the inevitable Mexi- 
can band discourses music every evening. liere 
the native dandies and their dark-eyed sefioritas 
promenade — always in opposite directions — and 
carry on flirtations such as only those people can. 
I suspect the swains sometimes go out to see a 
man, just like home folks, you know. Why do I 
think so? Because upon the front of a building" 
just across the street I saw the legend, ''American 
bar." Great Scott ! An American bar ! Save the 
mark. I am addicted to soft drinks — prescribed 

/IDustc an^ more IRest 

by a doctor friend of mine who 'has a well-stocked 
siddboard and doesn't want his friends to discover 
it — hence there is a reasonable excuse for my 
learning something about that American bar way 
down there on the Mexican west coast. Ugh ! 

Heard near by, the strains of the band on the 
plaza were not so dulcet as one might infer from 
the music furnished by the Mexican bands that 
visit us here in the North occasionally. But, soft- 
ened by distance and swelled by the echoes of the 
neighboring hills, the music of that band, as it 
reached us on board ship, was incomparably sweet. 
How delightful that evening in port, when, after a 
hard day ashore, we lounged about the deck, swap- 
ping yarns and listening to the far-away concert. 

The omnipresent plaza is the loafing place of 
every Mexican town. There, in the heat of the 
day, may be found dozens of Mexicanos lounging 
listlessly about, silent for the most part, dozing in 
some instances, and none of them moving a finger, 
unless it be to roll and light a cigarette. Should 
one fall profoundly asleep, he is allowed to finish 
his nap. Even should he be so forgetful of his sur- 
roundings as to snore, there is no rude poHceman 
to tell him to move on. Indeed, the policeman 
himself is quite likely to be asleep. 


S. T. R. I 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

The native policeman is a most picturesque char- 
acter, by the way. And he is pretty decent, too. 
In some ways he is a model for American officers. 
I witnessed a scene one afternoon in Acapulco that 
suggested the advisability of sending some of our 
own policemen down yonder to learn at least one 
branch of their business — caring for drunks. Now, 
those native policemen are by no means expert in 
handling a helpless man. They are not athletes, 
and are too lazy to learn how to shoulder an un- 
conscious man and walk off with him, but they 
have patience, and do not club or kick a helpless 
drunk simply because 'he is not open to persuasion. 

Apeon was lying in the street near the plaza, dead 
drunk. He was discovered by a native policeman, 
who vainly tried to arouse him. In despair, the 
officer finally called assistance. A mounted officer 
soon appeared on the scene, who was picturesquely 
unlike anything I had ever seen in the way of a 
policeman. Mounted on a typic mustang, clad in 
a white linen uniform, topped with a huge straw 
sombrero, tremendous spurs with the crudest of 
rowels clinking at his *heels, the inevitable lariat 
at his saddle bow, a knife on one hip and a six- 
shooter on the other, he was an ideal picture of a 
cabalkro, but a policeman — never! 


/IDo^el policemen 

Dismountinig from his mustang, the officer pro- 
ceeded to assist his subordinate in disposing of the 
drunk. They tugged and pulled the fellow to a 
standing posture again and again, only to have 
him topple to the ground, despite their vigorous 
bracing, until one would have forgiven them ihad 
they lost patience and played just a litltle rough 
with their charge. Without the slightest show of 
impatience, they stood a while deliberating as to 
the best method of disposing of him. As they 
could not walk away with him, they concluded to 
carry the fellow on the mustang, and finally, after 
considera'ble effort, succeeded in doing so. This, 
however, was not accomplished without several 
ludicrous failures. Once, whilst the officers were 
tugging away at the fellow at either end, the belt 
that confined his garments at the waist gave way and 
left the poor devil almost au naturel! But, noth- 
ing daunted, the guardians of the -public morals 
procured a piece of rope and, having restored the 
continuity of the drunkard's clothing, threw him 
over the mustang's v^ithers, where he hung as 
limply as a bag of meal. The officer mounted be- 
hind him and rode off as gayly as you please, the 
policeman on foot walking along side and holding 
the drunken man's head as high as he could with- 
out tipping him off the extemporized patrol wagon. 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

I do not know how well supplied Acapulco may 
be with other amusements, but cock-fighting is 
very popular. Just opposite the plaza may be 
seen a sign which, freely translated, conveys the 
information that a cock fight takes place there 
every afternoon and evening. The fights begin 
a little later on Sundays, it. seemis. The Mexicans 
evidently respect the Sabbath day, with some res- 
ervation, it is true, ^but when a Mexican defers 
a cock fight for an hour or tw^o, he must be actu- 
ated by some very powerful sentiment. Our hu- 
mane society would not be very popular in that 
country. The people must be amused. Some day, 
perhaps, cock-fighting will be abolished down 
there, but not until the higher education prevails 
and such gentle sports as pugilism and football 
replace the brutalizing fighting of bulls and chick- 
ens. *Tv/ere better that ten pugilists had their noses 
broken, or that ten football players were killed 
or maimed for life, than that one innocent Httle 
rooster should suffer the gaff or the cruel mata- 
dors slay one dear, sweet bull. Out upon you, 
my Mexican friends ! You are rude barbarians. 
Even your cock-fights, so far as I icould see, are 
no improvement on the surreptitious American ar- 
ticle, even though a native policeman did handle 


Htrican'^lifte Bwellings 

the chickens. But, I came, I saw, and — I bet a 
peso on the wrong- rooster; just because he was 
bald-headed, Hke Fitzsimmons ! 

To one who is unfamihar with old Mexico, and 
especially its western seaport towns, the peculiar 
habitations of some of its people are at once a sur- 
prise and a delight. Acapulco, perhaps, has par- 
ticipated less in the march of progress than any 
of the larger seaports of Mexico. At a 'little dis- 
tance some of its residence districts resemble 
nothing so much as an African village. I stood 
upon a hill near the old fort for some time, ad- 
miring a picturesque colledtion of squat adobe 
huts in the midst of a grove of great palms and 
towering cocoanut trees near a little insweep of 
the bay. Palm-thatched as to roof, diminutive as 
to size, and possibly fairer to the eye from where 
I stood than when seen at closer range, those huts 
nevertheless made an exquisite picture. As if to 
accentuate their primitive character, a lone fisher- 
man, garbed in a style befitting the coast of 
Africa, was busily engaged in casting a net in 
the surf a short distance off. I wanted that lone's picture and forthwith proceeded to 
stalk him. I caught him just as he had returned 
to shore after a successful haul. The result was 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

but indifferent, yet 'twill serve to illustrate one 
of the most interesting features of the Mexican 

A^ A^ *^ 

To one of artistic instincts, and even a mod- 
erate degree of sentimentality, the ancient stone 
paved road leading from the town to the awe- 
some fort of Acapulco were well worth trav- 
eling, even though there were naught of in- 
terest at the end of its winding way. From 
the edge of the road there is a steep declivity 
leading down to the beach, where an occasional 
queer-looking fis^herman or clam-digger may be 
seen lazily plying his vocation. Beyond the 
gently rolling surf the native barges and small 
boats fare back and forth with their loads of com- 
modities or passengers, between the ships in the 
harbor and the docks. A most variegated pic- 
ture, these boats. Those devoted to passenger 
service are gaily decorated with parti-colored awn- 
ings, and bear fanciful Spanish names which tempt 
one to get aboard whether he have an objective 
point or not. Lissome fellows — blacks, and tans 
and olive-browns, the rowers. Most of them are 


Ibatbor Ibucl^sters 

undersized, but all are sturdy and manful at the 
oar, which often seems many sizes too big for 
him who mans it. 

The tradespeople of the harbor are a quaint lot. 
Gaily dressed women and young boys predom- 
inate in the management of the merchandise boats. 
These boats are not infrequently dugouts — about 
as unseaworthy craft as ever floated. The aver- 
age Caucasian who knows a bit of "boatology" 
would turn one of those canoes ^'turtleback" in 
a jifify and give the sharks a treat — an omnivorous 
treat of white meat and ''garden sass" at that. 
But those natives paddle serenely about, or doze 
in the bottoms of their floating shops as peacefully 
as if on the most secure of couches. And such 
an array of commodities ! Wonderful shells of the 
Pacific, with all the tints of the rainbow, giving 
forth ithe imprisoned music of operatic mermaids 
and the soft murmurings of tropic seas, cocoa- 
nuts, freshly torn from the graceful trees that 
fringe the bay, iplantains, 'biananas, oranges and 
limes, with all the charm of recent picking linger- 
ing about them, odd bright-colored fabrics that 
are distinctively Mexican — all sorts of wares and 
commodities are disiplayed 'by those hucksters of 
the sea. Most characteristic of all are the gro- 
tesque, seldom beautiful, light and papery Indian 


ff^anama ant) tbe Stettas 

earthenware of the country, gorgeous parrots and 
an occasional monkey from Corinto, for the pos- 
session of which one may drive as hard a bargain 
as he wis'hes, feeling sure that he will acquire his 
object in the end. 

Beneath the huge trees that border the 
road and stand out in bold relief against 
the shimmering background of 'the bay, is the 
playground of the children. For aught I know, 
the grateful shade of those gnarled and twisted 
giants is the scene of many a tryst. In fact, I 
was witness to an incipient tryst as I strolled along 
the old fort road. Did not my camera prove it? 
Too young? Well, mayhap, but they begin early 
down there. Besides, I have great faith in small 

h One of the dramatis fersoncR^ the girl, was a 
typic little Mexican, as beautiful as only a child of 
the Latin race can be ; the other was a living exem- 
plification of the well-known fact that the color 
line is none too sharply drawn in Mexico. But 
he, too, was beautiful. The Latin blood mixes 
with the African more kindly than does the Cau- 
casian. The result of that kindly mixture has 
often much of real beauty. What does 'the future 
hold for those children who so accommodatingly, 
though all unconsciously, gave me a scene worthy 



of the attention of a professional artist, let alone 
that of a wandering amateur? Did I in very 
truth materialize the beginning of a romance? 

X. X. X. 

The weather at Acapulco had been extremely 
hot; indeed, most of the passengers seemed to 
suffer more with the heat than at any time dur- 
ing the voyage. The evenings upon deck were 
still delightful, as there is always a grateful breeze 
along that coast, but after retiring to one's state- 
room the tropic climate loses much of its charm. 
However, sea air and the motion of the ship are 
superb hypnotics, and sleep soon antidotes the 
heat. And dreamlessly one sleeps, until a resound- 
ing whack upon the stateroom door and the reg- 
ular morning call, "Bath's ready, sir," awakens 
one to a sensation of stifling sultriness and the 
consciousness of having been stewed in the secre- 
tion of one's own ^sweat glands. Languid and 
enervating that sultriness of the stateroom o' 
mornings. Yet after a plunge in the cool sea 
water one experiences a delicious sense of revival 
and stimulation that lasts for the entire day, if 
the direct rays of the sun be avoided. 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

Manzanlllo and San Bias gave us a more than 
tropic welcome and I was not sorry to leave them. 
" 'Twill be much cooler after we leave Mazatlan,'* 
said the wise ones. Which was the principal rea- 
son why I was glad to see the huge Ughthouse- 
capped rock at the entrance of Mazatlan bay loom- 
ing up ahead, early one super-heated morning. 

Mazatlan is the principal seaport town of the 
west coast of Mexico. It has an excellent har- 
bor, although it is not to be compared with that 
of Acapulco. Picturesque as the town certainly 
is, it is not by any means so bizarre as some of 
the towns further south, as may be readily under- 
stood upon consideration of the relatively cosmo- 
politan tone that it acquires from its commercial 
relations with other parts of the world, and es- 
pecially with the United States. But it is nev- 
ertheless distinctively Mexican. The inhabitants 
number, perhaps, 15,000. The buildings are mainly 
of adobe, and some of them are very pretentious, 
though very few are more than one story in 
height. The characteristic court garden is to be 
found in nearly all of the houses and in many oi 
the stores. A commentary on the mutual confi- 
dence of the Mexicans is presented by the iron 
bars seen at every door and window. The varia- 
tions of color in the buildings, characteristic of 


/IDasatlan Cburcbes 

Spanish - American towns, are here especially 
marked; hence the streets present an appearance 
not unattractive to the artistic eye. 

Mazatlan has several old churches of more than 
passing interest and beauty. Like some of the an- 
cient buildings in Central America, the hand of 
time and the remorseless imprint of the weather 
have but enhanced the attractiveness of the orig- 
inal coloring. The principal cathedral is a very 
imposing and artistic structure of comparatively 
recent date, the architecture of which, were it not 
for its charm of color, would savor somewhat of 
"gingerbread.'' The interior decorations of this 
cathedral are boasted of by the people of Mazatlan 
as being very gorgeous and magnificent. They 
appeared to me, however, to be very tawdry. The 
altar suggested a desperate attempt at display on 
the part ol a people whose ideas as to artistic ef- 
fect and harmony of decoration are very simple 
and childish, not to say aboriginal. However, 
there was sufficient tinsel, and gilt, and shoddy 
stuff to show that the worshipers are not disposed 
to regard expense when it comes to decorating a 

One of the principal industries of Mazatlan is 
the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes. Some 
of the factories employ women and children ex- 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

clusively. Many ai (the children are very diminu- 
tive indeed. I saw one pretty little girl, who could 
not have been more than five or six years of age, 
working at a bench. She was making paper ciga- 
rette boxes at lightning speed. That so young a 
child should have acquired such remarkable dexter- 
ity and speed astonished me. Her mother, who was 
working beside her in the midst of several other 
children, who were evidently also her own, con- 
sented to allow the little one to be photographed. 
IThe child was backward at first, but, bearing in 
mind the penchant of the Mexicans for American 
money, I succeeded in getting her consent to the 
operation. As the picture shows, she was a little 
Topsy-like as to stockings, but triumphant and 
secure as to the piece of Uncle Sam's coin that she 
held in her fingers. One cannot help wondering 
in looking at this child's sweet face, what her fu- 
ture life is destined to be. 

Chicago, in common with many other great 
American cities, often complains of her transpor- 
tation facilities. Possibly the introduction of a 
few of the palatial street cars of Mazatlan might 
reconcile our citizens even to the — ^well, the North 
Side cars, for instance. I had little difficulty in 
photographing one of those greaser-driven, mule- 
drawn cars. The driver stood for the picture, 


B Ibtttnan Iborse 

probably not because he was courteous or hos- 
pitable, but because he liked rest, even though it 
were transitory. "Me, too," quoth the mule. 

The general market of Mazatlan is one of the 
features of the town which the natives insist upon 
showing visitors. Their anxiety to exhibit their 
foodstuffs and methods of handling them is ex- 
plicable only by their ignorance. The fruit and 
green groceries look unwholesome. The sup- 
posedly fresh meats are exposed promiscuously in 
the stalls, apparently for the especial benefit of the 
flies, which divide their attention impartially be- 
tween tlie meats and the persons of the proprietors 
and clerks, most of whom are asleep the better 
part of the time. And such meats ! A Goose 
Island dog might condescend to look at them, but 
an aristocratic canine from Michigan avenue 
wouldn't remain a minute in the same room with 
the stuff. 

In one of the more unfrequented streets I met 
v^th the oddest character I had yet seen. Plod- 
ding along in the fierce glare of the noonday sun 
was a splendidly-built native, of perhaps forty 
years of age, naked as to raiment, save for a som- 
brero much too big for his head, and a garment 
which, for courtesy's sake, we will call a pair of 
trunks. Thrown over his shoulders was a small 


IPanama an^ tbe Sierras 

shawl, upon which was a pad, resting cheerfully 
upon his neck. Upon this pad was supported a 
load O'f saplings that would have been a sufficient 
burden for a horse. These saplings are the ma- 
terial upon which the adobe is spread in building 
the humbler dwellings. The human horse ^by no 
means considered himself an object of commisera- 
tion. He seemed to think that the feat he was 
performing was in no v/ay remarkable. As he 
stood for his photograp'h, with a meek and smil- 
ing look of resignation upon his face and his toes 
turned in, pigeon-wise, my conscience perspired 
more than he did. 'Twas eased somewhat, how- 
ever, by the joy that illumined his face as he held 
out his hungry palm for the customary consola- 

I was much impressed by the lack of enterprise 
of the Mazatlan shopkeepers. Greedy as they are 
for American money, they are not only unfamiliar 
with our greenbacks, but too mortally lazy to take 
the trouble to exchange them for Mexican cur- 
rency, even when they know the legal rate of ex- 
change. They will take our silver, ofif-hand, but 
will allow customers to leave their stores without 
purchasing, thus losing the sale of large bills of 
goods, rather than bother their heads with money 
exchange. Then, too, the traveler is at his wit's 


a jfuttle /IDa]fte*up 

^nd to find suitable shops in which to trade. 
'American shopkeepers would have guides at the 
boat landing's. 

The freig^ht handlers at Mazatlan, corresponding 
to our roustabouts and dock laborers, are a most 
interesting lot. They are very striking, with their 
brown, handsome faces shaded by broad som- 
breros, much the worse for wear, and their bare, 
sinewy legs. It is very entertaining to watch them 
wading back and forth between the barges and the 
beach, fairly staggering under their loads of goods. 
Jolly fellows they are, too, singing at their work 
and laughing and shouting like a lot of happy 
children. How they laughed when I pointed my 
•camera at them. And how they posed, confound 
*em ! Why is it that every interesting character in- 
sists on spoiling a picture by posing, the instant a 
camera confronts him? 

The people of Mazatlan are not the politest in 
the world. They are given not only to staring, but 
to directing rude remarks at strangers. That sort 
of thing grows wearisome after a while, and I de- 
termined to correct it. Observing one big cabal- 
lero eying me rather superciliously, I noticed his 
^et-up with a critical and observant eye. Whereat 
I soliloquized*. "Anybody, anywhere, might wear 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

that shirt and trousers, but that sombrero and 
bright red serape are distinctively Mexican. Aha ! I 
have it. I'll get a costume." And so I hied me to 
a shop, and, by more or less intelligible gestures 
and the exhibition of sundry coins, succeeded in 
encompassing my desires. Gee, v^hiz ! What a 
make-up ! My model wore a sombrero with a six- 
inch rim. I bought one with a rim a foot wide. 
To show my lofty contempt for his style of head- 
gear, I bought an extra one about the size of his 
and stuck it under my arm. He had a fiery red 
serape wrapped around him, hot as it was. I pro- 
cured one with red, blue, yellow and green stripes. 
Ah, but it was a kaleidoscopic dream ! And hot — 
oh, my ! 

To make my bluff good, I purchased a 
huge machete and slung it over my shoulder. I 
wanted to buy a pair of huge Mexican spurs, but 
the proprietor of the store would have none of it. 
He fain would not be accessory to a riot, I fancy. 
I left the shop as proud as a peacock, intending to 
paralyze the town. About a block away was stand- 
ing my model, daintily twirling his moustache and 
smoking a big cigar, still with that supercilious air. 
He looked up, saw me and through me. His super- 
ciliousness changed to contempt, and then, as the 
absurdity of the counterfeit dawned fully upon him, 


XHnsanttar^ /IDextco 

he laughed uproariously. As I fled to my boat I 
was conscious that he had company in his hilarity. 
He had called his friends to see the show. 

Well, anyhow, I don't believe I shall ever go 
down there again. Even if I should, those fellows 
probably would not remember me. But I'll not 
visit their old town again if I can help it — 'machete 
me if I do. 

*■ *• y- 

' The sanitary condition of the Mexican seaports 
is not good, although better, I fancy, than that of 
the interior towns. A recent letter from one of my 
young professional friends sets forth the state of 
affairs in the interior district most graphically : 

"Killing time and fighting disease seem a very 
hard proposition in this section of the country. I 
am coming to the conclusion that the experience 
gained here is very dearly purchased. A few 
months of this life would make any kind of a here- 
after endurable. When, after my day's work, I 
compare my cases with those of a similar nature in 
America, and contrast the results obtained, I 
despair. As for the class of people here, it makes 
one despise humanity, to think that such creatures 
exist. They are lost, apparently, to all that Ameri- 


Panama auD tbe Sierras 

cans hold dear — honor, manhood and self-respect. 
And to be compelled to live in such a community ! 
Is the game worth the candle? No, a thousand 
times no ! The people have no morals, no decency. 
They lie, cheat and steal. They merely exist from 
day to day, having no memory of the past, no am- 
bition for the present, and no hope for the future. 
What an outlook for a race ! Thank the Lord, he 
is slowly 'but surely calling fhese people in. With- 
in an area of sixty square miles the mortality rate 
among the natives is 104 deaths to 100 births. In 
the little town of Ramos, smallpox, diphtheria and 
pneumonia are very virulent, killing in from 24 to 
y2 hours. In a population of 1,500 to 2,000 there 
are only 'jd boys and girls who attend school. The 
number of natives under the age of six years is 
about 75. The race is neither Mexican, Spanish 
nor Indian, but a mixture of the three, plus the 
commonest of American blood. I have seen one 
or two healthy babies — the rest s'how traces of 

^ ^ ^ 

*The author of this letter, Dr. Fred Myers, has since 
died in Ramos, the hell-hole in which he was practicing. 
He contracted typhus fever in the discharge of his duty. 
Of him I can only say: There was a man. 


IHIloolens Haain 

Sure enough, the tropic weather was left behind 
us at Mazatlan — and with it the privilege of stop- 
ping at ports. "No more stops till we get to 
Frisco/' quoth the -bluff and cheery captain. 
There was no reason for stopping, for there were 
no passengers desiring it, and the ship had all the 
cargo she could stagger under. Even the forward 
deck was encroached upon by bales and boxes of 
limes and bunches of bananas — an arrangement 
that made some of the passengers a bit nervous. 
It had not been long since the brave old CoHma, of 
the Pacific Mail, had capsized in a gale off the Cali- 
fornia coast, as a result o'f the shifting of a deck- 
load of freight, and the story of that luckless vessel 
was still fresh in the minds of seafarers. 

But there ^were no gales — only the most delight- 
ful breezes, growing cooler day by day, until I was 
glad to get back to my woolens and a heavy suit 
of clothes. Long before Trisco was reached a 
light overcoat was absolutely essential, mornings 
and evenings. The transition from tropic to cool 
weather is quite abrupt on the Mexican coast. 
Mazatlan had displayed her hottest weather for 
our benefit. Within six hours it was considerably 
cooler, and, three days later, came the flannels. 
And, by the way, it is always quite cool off this 
portion of the Pacific coast. 


IPanama ant) tbe Sierras 

The air of the coast from Cape San Lucas — the 
extreme southerly point of lower California — to a 
point opposite Santa Cruz, California, is the most 
delightful and invigorating of any within my ex- 
perience. It is as free from humidity as sea air can 
be, from its commingling with the dry air from off 
the coast, especially of southern California, where 
the currents from off the Salton and great Mojave 
deserts come in play. As Charles Dudley Warner 
expresses it ; "even the fogs are dry." Our course 
lay quite near the coast, along the inner channel, 
as the sailors call it, to distinguish it from the outer 
course that discretion compels vessels to take in 
rough weather. Fortunately for my yearnings for 
the picturesque, the sea was smooth as a frozen 
pond. There was no rough weather after crossing 
the California gulf, and even there the sea was only 
a 'bit choppy. The captain was therefore privileged 
to select the shorter and more entertaining inner 
course through San Pedro and Santa Barbara 

The coast of lower California is dreary and bar- 
ren, albeit picturesque enough. Near Cape San 
Lucas there is a little hamlet of perhaps sixty 
souls, pearl fishers mostly, but from that point clear 
to California human habitations are few and far 
between. Robinson Crusoe may have been cast 
away on a lonelier spot than the site of that little 


Ube XanD ot iptomise 

fishing village, but I doubt it. And still, there 
must be some features of attractiveness. The first 
officer told me that on a previous trip the ship had 
put in at that little place to land the family of an 
American, who, after many years' residence in the 
lonely-looking village, had gone back to his native 
city, Philadelphia, to live, but after two years had 
grown homesick and returned to end his days upon 
that lonely coast. His wife and children, he said, 
had never been contented away from that coast, 
and, like himself, were happy to return to it. The 
Quaker City was too slow for them, perhaps. 
When once the ozone-charged air of the Pacific 
coast gets into the blood, how one longs to stay 
there the rest of his days. What joy to live where 
the act of breathing is itself a delight, where care is 
not and the sky is perennially blue. But the story 
is "one on Philadelphia" all the same. 

^ ^ > 

Only one who has returned to the land of his 
nativity, many, many years after having left it for 
a sterner and more forbidding clime, can appre- 
ciate my sensations when the coast of California 
came in sig'ht. Fair was it, fair as the land of 
promise, fairer than that sturdy Argonaut, my 


©anama unb the Sierras 

father, e'er saw it, for to him it was but the gate-^ 
way to the fortune of his dreams, that fortune 
which, alas ! never came to him in real life. Califor- 
nia was to me a land of romance, a panorama of 
beauty, rose-tinged by pleasant memories of boy- 
hood's joyous days. 

"We have crossed the Hne. There's California, 
sir," said an obliging tar. I thanked him, and 
raised my hat most reverently. The sailor looked 
at me wonderingly as I shaded my eyes — not from 
the sun, I'll confess, but to hide their moisture — 
and gazed at the distant shore. 

How fair is the coast of California after the 
dreary waste of the peninsula to the southward. 
Patches of vivid green are to be seen, here and 
there, covering the gentle slopes and extending 
back to the steep rise of the mountains of the 
Coast range. These mountains begin to show ver- 
dure soon after leaving lower California, the ver- 
dure increasing progressively as one goes north- 
ward. The bright green of the slopes, and the 
grays and reds of the barren, rocky spots seen 
now and again, stand out in bold relief against the 
dark, somber green of the mountains. 

A most attractive feature of a voyage up the 
California coast is the large number of beautiful is- 
lands that are to be seen in taking the inner course. 
The most important of these are Santa Clemente, 


Jftsb Stories 

Santa Catalina, Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz. Huge 
emeralds, some of them seem, as they loom up 
through the ocean mist. Rocky and forbidding 
many of them are, and, I fancy, really not quite so 
attractive as they appear at a distance. Volcanic 
islands are usually not so beautiful as picturesque. 
Some of them are so barren as to be uninhabitable, 
whilst others are fertile and devoted to agriculture 
and stock-raising. Several of these islands are the 
sites of the summer -homes of wealthy men. Oth- 
ers, again, are noted for their fine fishing grounds. 
Santa Catalina island, not far from San Diego, is 
especially noted for its fishing. If the size of the 
fish caught there is commensurate with the size of 
the yarns I have heard about them, that island 
must be an ideal fishing place. Said one gentle- of my acquaintance : "I saw a fish weighing 
250 pounds that was caught by a friend of mine 
at Catalina island. He was taken with a hook 
and line, and it took all day to wear him out and 
get him ashore." 

As my friend is a man of veracity, I have deter- 
mined to go fishing at Santa Catalina some fine day 
or "bust." And then, when I come home, there'll 
be an item in the papers something like this : 

''A tunny fish was recently caught with a hook 
and line at Santa Catalina island, California, by 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

Dr. Lydston, one of our townsmen, weighing 200 
pounds. He struck the fish at 6 a. m. and it took 
^till 6 p. m, to tire him out." 

And then everybody will exclaim, "My, but the 
doctor must be feeling well to weigh so much! 
And how strong he is, too ; why, it took a big tunny 
fish a Whole day to tire him out !" 

Be it understood .that the works on natural his- 
tory assert the existence of tunny fishes weighing 
one thousand pounds. What a bluff that story will 
be — how easily substantiated, and how far within 
the range of probability ! Will it take a day to tire 
me out? Well, I should say so! 

4^ A^ 4^ 

It is doubtful whether nature ever designed a 
more secure or beautiful harbor than the bay of 
San Francisco. Was it not because of its beauty 
that it was called The Golden Gate? It was so 
named by the early adventurers who explored 
the California coast, long before the discovery of 
the auriferous wealth that made the entrance to 
the land where lay The Golden Fleece a "golden 
gate" indeed. Mayhap the old-time voyagers 
were inspired. Who knows? 


XTbe Golden Gate 

It is an unfortunate circumstance that San Fran- 
cisco harbor and its famous entrance are rarely 
to be seen to advantage on account of the dense 
fogs that usually encompass it. Luck was with 
me on this occasion, however, as may be under- 
stood when I quote the captain's remark that he 
had not entered the bay under such favorable con- 
ditions for several years. 

Standing at the entrance of the bay like trusty 
sentinels, are the two points of land between which 
vessels must pass to the secure haven within. 
The northern one, Point Bonita — ^the beautiful — 
is distinguished by its lighthouse. From near this 
point extends the bar that traverses the outer har- 
bor entrance and makes it dangerous for vessels of 
heavy draft at low tide or when the wind blows 
from the west, nor'west or sou'east. On the south- 
em point. Point Lobos — the wolf — stands the tele- 
graph station from which messages are sent to 
the city, announcing the arrival of vessels. 

From Points Bonita and Lobos, which are sep- 
arated by a distance of perhaps three miles, the 
shores of the inlet gradually converge until at 
the narrowest part, The Golden Gate proper, the 
distance between the farthest jutting points is less 
than two thousand yards. Between Point Bonita 
and The Golden Gate on the northern shore stands 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

a range of hills and cliffs crowned with verdure 
and dotted here and there with picturesque build- 
ings of various kinds. Towering majestically 
above these beautiful hills stands Mount Tamal- 
pais, with its wonderful scenic railway. South of 
The Golden Gate on a rocky cliff stands the CHff 
House. Its snowy shape and artistic lines may 
be seen for miles and miles out at sea. 

Time was when some of the old forts at the 
entrance of the harbor were supposed to be very 
formidable. Those that have not been dismantled 
look very like toy structures nowadays. One al- 
most expects to see children playing with them, 
so toy-like do they look at a little distance. Re- 
spect for old age alone has preserved these old- 
fashioned structures. Their usefulness ceased with 
the introduction of those enormous modern guns, 
visible and invisible, that stand upon the brows of 
the cliffs on either hand. San Francisco occupies a 
position that is very easily fortified, and the mili- 
tary engineers have selected mo^st advantageous 
positions for the guns. 

There is much to be seen in steaming up the 
harbor. The military prison and other buildings 
on the harbor islands, the Presidio or U. S. army 
barracks, the beautiful suburbs that dot the shore 
of the bay, the magnificent ferry-boats plying back 


H XTranstormation 

and forth, the multitudinous shipping, and, last 
but not least, the city of San Francisco itself, sit- 
uated as it is upon a series of hills, form a most 
interesting picture. 

But one must see the bay of San Francisco to 
appreciate its beauties. To see it at its best, how- 
ever, one must approach it from the sea and sail 
throug^h The Golden Gate. If he has not this op- 
portunity, let him stand upon the shore at the 
entrance and watch the stately ships as they pass 
to and fro in their outgoing or home-coming. 
One of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen 
was a majestic out-bound East Indian clipper ship 
crossing the bar by moonlight, on her way to the 
far-away land of tea and spice. Many years have 
since passed away, yet the scene is still remem- 
bered as a delightful experience. 

San Francisco is by no means as cosmopolitan 
as when I first saw it, many years ago. The city 
itself was then small and primitive, but its ship- 
ping comprised a variety oi craft that probably 
could not have 'been duplicated by any harbor in 
the world. The flags and bunting of all nations 
were there to be found at all times, and all sorts 
of craft, from the queer Oriental junk to the pala- 
tial steamship of the Pacific Mail or the royal mer- 
chantman of the Indies could be seen going or 
coming, or lying peacefully at anchor at all times. 


B^anama an^ tbe Sierras 

A great variety of craft is there to-day, but some 
of the old-time features of picturesqueness are 
gone. The march of progress has long since 
reached the Orient, and the junk has been replaced 
by such vessels as the Hong Kong Maru, Nippon 
Maru and other beautiful steamships of the Ori- 
ental Steamship Company's line. 

But the crowds of incoming passengers on ves- 
sels from all parts of the world are no more. The 
fitful fever of seeking gold with pick and pan has 
long since exhausted itself, and San Francisco is 
now compelled to rely upon California's substan- 
tial merits and such commercial attractions as she 
herself can furnish without the boom element of 
the gold fever. 

Seeing thewonderfful transformation that had oc- 
curred in the metropolis of my native state, I be- 
gan to wonder whether my visit to my old home 
in the hills was not going to be a disappointment. 
I had expected great changes, yet did not fully 
realize what the difference between the old and 
the new would really mean to me, until confronted 
with that magnificent up-to-date city, with its 
crowded streets and fine buildings. 

ifi ifi Hi 


XEbrouob jfaiti^lanD 

All ithat Is novel in San Francisco has been 
described by abler pens than mine, but I cannot 
resist the temptation to chronicle a few impres- 
sions. One of the interesting features of the city 
is the large number of charming suburbs that sur- 
round it, most of which, being located on the 
shores of the bay, are delightfully situated both 
as to transportation facilities and scenic effects. 
It is said that, while San Francisco has one of 
the meanest climates in the world, all a fellow 
has to do when he gets tired of it is to shut up 
his office and go to 'his home over in Oakland, 
Berkeley, SausaHto, San Rafael or Alameda, each 
of which towns has a cHmate that is not only 
delightful, but, if its citizens are to be believed, 
better than that of any other suburb. And, of 
a truth, a change of climate entails only thirty 
minutes' ride on a comfortable ferryboat. In pass- 
ing, let me remark that the ferryboats of Frisco 
put those of New York to the blush. They are 
elegant in their appointments and almost as speedy 
as ocean racers. 

There are two short trips out of San Francisco 
that I wish to especially recommend, viz., the elec- 
tric Hne to Haywards and San Leandro via Oak- 
land, and to Santa Cruz via the Narrow Gauge 
through the Santa Clara Valley. In the season of 
bloom or fruit, either of these trips traverses a vast 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

garden, beautiful beyond description. In the Santa 
Clara valley, for more than sixty miles, the way 
Hes through an unbroken vista of fruit farms. 
On either side may 'be seen, some miles away, the 
parallel ridges of the coast range, between which 
the valley stretches away to the north and south, 
as far as the eye can see. Near the pretty Httle 
city of San Jose may be seen Mount Hamilton, 
the site of the great Lick observatory with its 
wonderful telescope. 

The railroad finally leaves the valley and sud- 
denly one finds himself in the heart of the Santa 
Cruz mountains, with their trout-enlivened streams 
and towering redwoods. 

Ah! how delightful are those mountains, where 
the breath of the sea and the balmy air from the 
pines and redwoods on the mountain sides com- 
mingle. But the woodman's mercenary axe and 
the forest fires are destined slowly but surely to 
divest the mountains of Santa Cruz of much of 
their beauty. Wihat a crime it is to destroy those 
trees ! I remember seeing some men cutting down 
a kingly redwood in those mountains one day. 
After the tree had fallen one of the men turned 
to me and said, "What to do you think of that 
job?" ''Well," I replied, "I feel as though I were 
an accessory to a murder." And so I did. 


fftsbina l>^ IProxi? 

But California is destined to pay dearly for such 
crimes. 'Twill not be long- before the destruction 
of her forests will so seriously interfere with the 
rainfall that her agricultural interests will suffer 
most fearfully. To see huge redwoods, hundreds 
of years old, cut up for fence posts and rails is not 
conducive to equanimity of spirit. 

Disciples of Izaak Walton will find much pleas- 
ure in whipping the streams of the Santa Cruz 
mountains. They must needs be better fishermen 
than I, however, else they will not get a full 
basket. Still, I did pretty well myself, before I 
got through. A young Chinese lad, whom I ran 
across in one of the little mountain hamlets, vol- 
unteered to catch trout for me by the day — for 
a consideration. After that the thing was easy. 
Ting-a-ling-a-ring-chow, or whatever his name 
was, would sally forth with an alder switch, a 
cheap cotton line and a can of angle worms, and 
catch rainbow trout by the dozen. I gave him 
my flies and rods and things when I came away. 
I afterward heard that he traded the pole for a 
jackknife and, after cutting off the hooks, made 
a necklace of the feathery flies for a little girl of 
the neighborhood ! He did not even experiment 
with the fancy fishing outfit. He was a wise 
heathen, that one. 


©anama an^ tbe Sierras 

Through the Santa Cruz range lies the trail by 
which General John C. Fremont reached the coast. 
I climbed up the old trail one day to the top 
of the ridge from which the old general first saw 
the Pacific. The climb was a rough and tedious 
one, and the fact that I could stand when the 
top was reached, demonstrated to my own satis- 
faction that there was plenty of reserve force in 
me, even though I was in search of health. As 
I stood there gazing out over the lovely landscape 
and saw in the distance the shimmering bay of 
Monterey, I could understand Fremont's emotions 
when he said, "That is the most beautiful picture 
I ever saw!" 

The big tree grove of the Santa Cruz moun- 
tains is well worth a visit, if one has never seen 
those monster redwoods — sequoia sempervirens- — 
though they are small compared with those of 
Calaveras county: — ^the original big 'trees — sequoia 

4^ 4^ 4^ 

One should not leave San Francisco without 
riding upon the Scenic Railway to the summit of 
Mount Tamalipais. This railroad is accessible via 
the Sausalito ferry. The road passes through the 
pretty little town of Mill Valley, at which place 














Ube IkinQ of Clubs 

the Scenic Railway proper begins. A short dis- 
tance from Mill Valley the hills below Tamalpais 
are reached and the railway begins its winding 
way up the mountains. In and out among the 
slopes it winds, upward, ever upward, until Mount 
Tamalpais itself is surmounted and the train comes 
to a standstill near the little mountain inn where 
tourists are wont to refresh the inner man. Then 
comes that ambitious climb on foot to the very 
peak. And well rewarded is he who cHmbs. 
Spread out before him in the distance is a view 
of San Francisco and its harbor that cannot be 
excelled. As the city and its surroundings are 
most picturesque, the beauty of the scene may 
be imagined. The loveliness of the scenery and 
the delightful air of the mountain top make one 
regret the clanging of the locomotive bell that 
warns visitors that the time for the return trip 
has arrived. 

J^ 4^ A^ 

Fortunate, indeed, is the stranger in Frisco who 
has the opportunity of visiting the Bohemian club. 
I shall always recall the few hours spent within 
its hospitable walls as among the pleasantest of 
my sojourn upon the Pacific coast. My friend, 
Dr. George Chismore, is the best of hosts, and 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

his extensive acquaintance among the members of 
the club enables him to enact the role of enter- 
tainer to perfection. 

Who does not know that the brains and the talent 
of the city of San Francisco are enrolled in its 
world-famed Bohemian club? Who has not heard 
of those wonderful "High Jinks'* and "Low Jinks" 
that characterize its various festal occasions? 

For its art features alone, the club is well worth 
visiting. Upon the walls hang pictures that would 
delight the most captious critic and enchant a 
connoisseur. And nearly all of these pictures are 
the work of members of the club! The first-and 
oft-times the best- work of many a man who is 
now not unknown to fame adorns these walls. 
Not a few talented young artists have been dis- 
covered within the walls of this king of clubs. 
There is not a nook or corner of this brightest 
spot in all Bohemia that does not contain some- 
thing artistic, educational or amusing. I look back 
upon my all too brief visit to the San Francisco 
Bohemian club with the pleasantest of recollec- 
tions, and a keen regret that I cannot accept 
the cordial invitation extended to me as I un- 
willingly said good-bye, to "drop in often." 

> >i y 



He who visits Frisco and does not visit China- 
town, misses the most entertaining and instruc- 
tive feature of the city. Chinatown is located in 
what was once the most fashionable quarter of 
San Francisco. Dupont street, the present center 
of the Chinese quarter, was in days gone by a 
swell residence street. Slowly 'but surely the Mon- 
golian aliens encroached upon that aristocratic do- 
main until the wealthy white people were com- 
pelled to seek more congenial quarters. Exter- 
nally, most of the buildings are just as they were 
when the whites left them to the yellow-skinned 
invaders. A few buildings, however, have been 
built by the Chinamen themselves and show the 
Mongolian stamp in their architecture. 

The Chinaman is a natural tradesman, and his 
shops in this quarter are run on strictly business 
principles. The Six Companies control some of 
the more important stores. The array of curious 
and beautiful things in the shops of Chinatown 
is simply bewildering. As for the prices, bargain 
days in our own dry goods houses suffer by com- 

To me, the Chinese quarter was most fascinating. 
I spent evening after evening in roaming about 
among the stores and shops. My only regret was 
that my trunk was not of unlimited capacity, so 
that I might carry away more souvenirs. 


Panama a^^ tbe Sierras 

In passing I will state that I have never in my 
experience met with more refined and cultured 
gentlemen than some of the representatives of the 
Six Companies who are engaged in business in 
Chinatown. Affability, urbanity and square deal- 
ing are to be met with on every hand. Shop- 
ping in the various stores is a pleasure and a most 
profitable experience as well. As much cannot 
be said of all Caucasian shops in our large cities. 

On one occasion while visiting Chinatown, I was 
fortunate enough to be present at a birthday cele- 
bration given by a wealthy Chinese merchant to 
his friends — both Oriental and American. A very 
elaborate supper was served to a large party of 
American ladies and gentlemen in a special apart- 
ment. The main dining-room of the restaurant 
was devoted to the entertainment of the host's 
Chinese friends. 

The quaint dishes and odd customs of the Chi- 
nese on such occasions have been oft described, 
and were quite familiar to me, but I confess that 
I picked up some points in after-dinner speak- 
ing that were very novel. So far as I could glean 
through the frantic and somewhat incoherent ex- 
planatory efforts of my Chinese guide, the speeches 
were all eulogistic of the host. There was noth- 
ing striking about this, but to my edification the 
orators spoke in pairs. They spoke "at" each 


1Post*pranMal Cbinese 

other, and as the oratorical display was going 
on at each and every table simultaneously, the 
result may be imagined. The tower of Babel was 
a pensive whisper beside it. To my untrained ear 
the theme was "Allee chop chop," with variations. 
Funny stories seemed to be circulating all over 
the room, and, so far as I could judge, were be- 
ing received and appreciated in bunches. Let it 
not be said that the Chinaman has no sense of 
humor. If I read the signs aright, Joe Miller and 
dear old Rabelais together couldn't have equaled 
those stories. I listened until my brain began to 
whirl as it never does save when reading edito- 
rials in the — well, a certain, or, rather, uncertain, 
medical journal, and then called for a change of 
venue. I made an attempt to say good-night to 
my host, t)Ut he had furnished something original 
in the entertainment line by leaving his guests to 
their fate — that is, to the speeches — and had gone 
to burn punk over the remains of a deceased uncle 
or to some similar diversion. 

*- A^ *- 

All hail to thee, oh Chinatown! Thou art 
truly a paradise. Amid all thy one-string fiddles, 
breastpin banjos and resonant tom-toms there are 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

no discords. All is a harmony of sweet sounds^ 
for ragtime is a thing unknown in Celestial music. 
Sharks' fins, birds' nests, incense and no ragtime — 
what would you? But what do I see? A Chinese 
division of the Salvation Army, as I live ! Alas ! 
'tis the fly in the apothecary's ointment. 

i^ » » 

I had heard much of the difficulty of obtaining 
photographs of the denizens of Chinatown. I 
went down one day armed with a camera and 
bent on a keen pursuit of the elusive pagan, with 
little hope of success. My later regret was that 
I had not taken more films with me. The chil- 
dren were, it is true, afraid of the mysterious box 
in many instances, but on the whole I and my 
machine were well received. It was amusing to 
see some of the children elude my snapshots. I 
would gaze up at the buildings and away from the 
object of my attention, looking as innocent the 
while as only a Chicago doctor can look, while 
I cautiously attempted to get a focus; but it was 
no use ; the little rascals would disappear in 
the doorways like so many prairie dogs. When- 


placating Wcllovo Zcttovs 

ever the little fellows were chaperoned by a "big 
slister" — who was generally several sizes too small 
for the role — she made it her business to drag 
her icharges out of danger, and usually succeeded 
in stampeding the whole party. In one instance, 
however, a Httle boy was an exception to the rule 
and made strenuous endeavors to stand for his 
picture. His chaperon would have none of it, 
and fought the ambitious youngster to a decided 
finish, but — I got the picture just the same — and 
'twas unfit for publication. I noticed that the 
adult Chinese were amused rather than affronted' 
by the spectacle, which led me to conclude that 
the wariness of the children was largely due to 
natural timidity fostered by mamma's counsel 
against dallying with the guileful "Melican man'* 
and his "ways that are dark." And so I at once 
opened negotiations with my genial friend, Li 
Ching Lung, a merchant who had sold me sundry 
goods and chattels with profit to himself and 
pleasure to me. From my subsequent experience 
I am inclined to believe that, with an oily smile 
and a ten-cent piece, one can capture photographs 
in Chinatown as long as his money holds out. 
John Chinaman is a thoroughly good fellow on the 
average, and quite as susceptible to the seduc- 


Panama anD tbe ©terras 

tions of the universal language, "smiles and sil- 
ver," as any more civilized individual. He has 
the merit of business thrift without the inordinate 
greed of his Caucasian brother. 

A^ 4^ A^ 

The Chinese quarter of San Francisco is sug- 
gestive that some of our pet theories of hygiene 
and sanitation are fallacious. Huddled together 
within a few squares are 30,000 of our yellow 
**men and brothers." The houses are tumble-down 
and poorly ventilated, the streets narrow and 
crowded with shops of all sorts and descriptions, 
and the quarter altogether unhealthful in appear- 
ance. Odors both strange and familiar are here 
curiously blended. The not unpleasant incense of 
joss sticks is by no means completely lost amid the 
vapors and malodorous emanations from decaying 
fruit and the odds and ends of fish, flesh and fowl 
of the Chinese markets, but it is hardly a factor 
of redemption, certainly not of disinfection. The 
living and sleeping apartments of the lower class 
denizens of this highly flavored quarter can hardly 
be called homes. They are dens and burrows, pure 
and simple — or shall I say impure and complex? 
Huddled together in windowless tenements or 


Cbincse ipara^oxes 

basements are hundreds of Orientals to whom 
fresh air and sunshine are seemingly non-essentials, 
or even accidental features of existence. Such air 
as they breathe is opium-tainted and tobacco-fla- 
vored. Still, these Chinamen thrive and wax fat, 
thus setting our pet theories at naught. Yet, after 
all, the tenement houses of our large cities offer 
many Caucasian parallels. The doctor, as he plods 
his weary rounds, ofts stumbles over dirty tene- 
ment house *'kids" playing in the mud, who are 
as healthy as so many young puppies, and, as 
he passes on his way to visit the pampered sick 
child of some wealthy family, he marvels at the 
blooming health of the "better dead," 

» ^ » 

And Chinatown is a bundle of paradoxes. The 
scrupulous attention that the Chinaman gives his 
person is a case in point. The Chinese barber is 
a man of many duties — a tonsorial Pooh Bah, as 
it were. I was especially impressed with the 
scraping process to which the occasional China- 
man submits his conjunctival mucous membrane. 
He stoically sits in a low chair whilst the barber 
passes a sharp, narrow, thin-bladed knife beneath 
each Hd in succession, sweeping it back and forth 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

between ball and lid several times and, apparently, 
scraping the mucous membrane most thoroughly. 
The deftness of the operator would edify an op- 
thalmologist, and the stoicism of his patrons is 
to be commended to the clientele of our eye and 
ear infirmary. 

My guide, an Oriental whose knowledge of 
Pigeon English fell just short of amnesic aphasia — 
as we doctors call that condition in which a fellow 
knows just what he wants to say and can't find 
words to express it — assured me that the scraping 
process was ''belly good V Chinaman's li." 

i^ 4^ 4^ 

The Chinaman is supposed by many to have 
no sense of humor. This is an error, for his bump 
of humor is well developed. He is also a satirist 
of no mean order. It is not always safe to poke 
fun at him. I recall an amusing incident which 
showed that the gay Caucasian sometimes gets 
pretty badly worsted in playing with the almond- 
eyed alien. While doing Chinatown one evening, 
I incidentally dropped in upon my friend Sing Fat, 
who has one of the best appointed and most in- 
teresting shops in that quaintest portion of the 
city. I was engaged in conversation with the pro- 


Igellow BfgnitB 

prietor, who is a very refined and well educated 
gentleman, when a "smart Aleck" eastern tourist, 
who, in company with some admiring friends, was 
also doing the Chinese quarter, stepped up and 
interrupted with, "Hi, John, you gottee rat pies 
allee samee?'* Whereat my Mongolian friend did 
make reply : "Please 'be kind enough to speak to 
my interpreter there at the desk, sir. I speak 
only English and Chinese/' 

Which reminds me of a Mongolian waiter who 
presided over my gastronomic destinies on the 
Carpallo. No one seemed to know the CelestiaFs 
patronymic. He was variously styled, according 
to the moral bent of the passengers, "Ah Sin,'* 
*'Gin Fizz," "Ah Funk," "Wun Lung," and other 
euphonious alleged Oriental cognomens. Whether 
or not it was because he was especially "childlike 
and bland," or more than usually slant-eyed, and 
consequently innocent-looking, I cannot say, but 
I was wont to address him as "Wan Lee the 
Pagan," thus at once honoring him by naming 
him after one of Bret Harte's heroes and giving 
him a name sufficiently comprehensive. Wan Lee 
was patient and long-suffering, and therefore non- 
committal, for some days. But the worm will 
turn, and so will a Chinaman — as the world is 
just now willing to acknowledge. Wan Lee turned 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

upon me one day and said, in a tone of mingled 
reproach and scorn that quite overwhelmed me, 
"You no callee me Wan Lee; callee me ChoUy! 
Me no Plagan; me allee samee Mlethodist 
churchee. Me Chlistian. Sabe?" 

^ ^ J^ 

The weather had changed, and for some days it 
had been raining. Let me state here that, while 
California is a pretty dry country for most of the 
year, when the rain does begin it attends strictly 
to business. It "rains rain" out there, as sundry 
damp and painful recollections of days gone by 
prove to my own satisfaction. Notwithstanding 
the weather, however, I determined to start for 
the mountains. My wander days were drawing 
to an end and I was anxious to devote as much 
time as possible to the scenes of my boyhood. 

I took the steamer for Stockton, with the double 
object of shortening my journey by rail so far 
as possible and seeing something of the Valley 
of the Sacramento. In the old days one was com- 
pelled to take the steamer unless he preferred 
to swim or walk. The steamboat company had a 
nice little monopoly. When I came down from the 
mountains many years ago en route for "the 


XHp tbe San 5oaauin 

states," the fare on the steamer was $25. On this 
occasion the fare was twenty-five cents for the 
all-night ride. What sweet revenge ! 

The major part of the steamer route to Stock- 
ton lies up the San Joaquin river, a stream that 
is insignificant enough during the dry season, but 
which in the early spring is formidable enough 
to make a decided impression of its capacity for 
evil upon the beholder. The inhabitants of the 
valley could a tale unfold anent this point. The 
San Joaquin is noted, firstly, for having once been 
the crookedest navigable stream in the world, and, 
secondly, for the size and number of its mosquitoes. 
The river has been straightened considerably of 
late, but in former years the passengers were in 
constant fear lest the boat run into the bank, 
which was always dead ahead. 

The average tenderfoot is likely to mistake the 
mosquito of the San Joaquin for a fine, toothsome 
variety of snipe or woodcock, and long for a gun. 
And small wonder, for he is truly a "bird." He 
is a buzzard, a hawk and a screech-owl all in one. 
He certainly is not an insect, unless the tsetse 
fly is indigenous to the tule beds, or it is possible 
to cross the spicy yellow-jacket and the tarantula. 
Oh, yes, I know him ! 

4^ *- 4^ 


Panama anb tbe Sierras 

As I walked about the streets of the pretty 
Httle city of Stockton, it was hard to realize that 
it was once thronged with miners who had come 
down from the hill country to spend their golden 
ounces and procure supplies for their camps. 
Quiet, staid and up-to-date the city is now. I 
wonder what some of the forty-niners would say 
if they could return and view the trolley cars, 
electric lights and natural gas plant of the Stock- 
ton of to-day. 

Stockton was the scene of an amusing incident 
in the career of my old-time friend, Bill Starrett, 
the j oiliest happy-go-lucky I ever knew. Bill and 
his friend, Tom Dyer, were stranded — flat broke. 
They were strangers in the town and things looked 
mighty blue. Their assets consisted of a large and 
variegated assortment of nerve, a silver watch and 
a two-bit piece. Tom was in despair. There was no 
joy for him anywhere. Bill, however, was a man of 
resources. "Stop yer kickin', Tom," said he. 
"We've got stuff enough fer a couple o' drinks, 
an' that's pretty good. Come on; let's licker." 
Whereupon the two worthies started for the near- 
est saloon. 

Leaning against the window of the saloon and 
staring thirstily at the 'bottles within, was a tough- 
Icoking specimen of a miner who had evidently 
been seeing the tiger and had gotten the worst of 


H (Genuine MilD /IDan 

the encounter. His shock of red hair was long 
and unkempt. His beard extended to his eyes 
and swept his chest in tangled masses. His shirt- 
sleeves and trousers were far too short for de- 
cency and his shirt devoid of buttons, whilst his 
hat and shoes were well-nigh imaginary. The 
most peculiar feature of all was the fact that 
wiherever 'his skin was exposed it showed a cov- 
ering of thick red hair. 

"Holy smoke, Bill!" exclaimed Tom, as he 
caught sight of the phenomenon; *'Look at the 
wild man!" 

Bill looked the fellow over and cried, "By the 
eternal, Tom, that's the very feller I've been 
lookin' fer ! Come with me." 

Approaching the apparition Bill said, "My friend, 
would ye like a glass o' beer?" 

The hairy one allowed that he would, and the 
party entered the saloon. Bill spent his last cent 
for the beer and then opened negotiations in this 
.wise : 

"Say, we're the advance agents o' Barnum's 
circus and we're lookin' fer talent. How'd ye 
like a job?" 

"Well, I dunno but I'd like ter git one fust 
rate. What kind of a job mout it be?" 

''Why,"said Bill, getting ready to run, "we'd 
like ter git y'u fer a wild man." 


IPanama an^ tbe Sierras 

Whether it was a case of "necessity knows no 
law/' or because his finer sensibilities were blunted 
by the beer, I cannot say, but the fellow took 
kindly to the proposition. 

The two worthies now pawned the old watch 
and started out to do business. Bill's palaver got 
them credit for a week's rental from the owner 
of an old ramshackle store that happened to be 
vacant. By similar wheedling at a costumer's, he 
rented the costume of General Boum in the Grand 
Duchess. With the money procured by pawning 
the watch a painter was employed and the front 
of the proposed show building decorated with a 
huge sign reading, "The celebrated wild man of 
Tahiti now on exhibition. Advance show of Bar- 
num's circus. Admission four bits." 

The wild man was stripped to the buff and a 
breech clout put upon him. Around his waist was 
clasped a huge belt. To this was attached a heavy 
chain secured to the floor by a big staple. 

After thus preparing his exhibit. Bill said, "Now, 
my friend, all you've got ter do is ter growl an' 
tug at the chain. Y'u kin have all the tobacker 
an' licker ye want, so jest feel as good as ye 
darn please ;" then, in an aside, "Tom, keep the 
cuss loaded." 


H IRtcfteti? 1Roa^ 

Bill now donned his gaudy costume and started 
out to arouse the town. He was preceded by a 
small 'boy whom he had employed to beat a drum. 
How the boy did pound, and how Bill orated, 
as they went a'bout the streets announcing to all 
and sundry the arrival of Barnum's Wild Man, 
the place of exhibition and the price of admission ! 
By the time Bill got back to the show, people 
were tum'bling over each other in their eagerness 
to see the wonder. 

The iboys cleaned up several hundred dollars 
on the deal and would probably have made a tour 
of the country with their find, had he not devel- 
oped a capacity for liquor that was a menace 
to the future prosperity of their show business. 
Besides, he became unduly inflated over the at- 
tention he received ,and was consequently hard to 

A^ >^ A^ 

Recalling the discomforts of the days when 
stages afforded the only means of transportation 
to the Sierras, the prospect of traveling up coun- 
try by rail was pleasing. But, after having tried 
the latter method, my preference is for the old- 
fashioned stage. Of all the rickety roads I have 
ever seen, the Sierra railway is the worst. To 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

accentuate its toughness, the heavy rains had sq 
softened the roadbed that the train ran in an un- 
dulating fashion, the mud yielding under the ties 
and rails with an audible "squash" as the wheels 
rolled over them. Here and there, portions of 
the road had been washed out and getting across 
without iDeing derailed required some fine maneu- 
vering. Get across we did, however, and in due 
time arrived at the historic town pi Chinese Camp, 
Tuolumne county, my first stop en route to my 
old home in the hills. 

In the early days of mining in California, 
Chinese was the center of a wide area of 
placer diggings. For some reason or other 
the town was very popular with the Chi- 
nese, large numbers of whom took up their resi- 
dence there. This was the origin of the name 
of the place. Even to-day, an old guide post 
may be seen upon the road from Copperopolis 
to Chinese Camp on which is painted the picture 
of a Chinese miner and his pack with the inscrip- 
tion, ''Me go Chinese Camp 3 mile i halp." This, 
it is said, was erected -by the miners of a ,rival 
town as a satiric recommendation of the camp. 

When the Chinese first invaded Tuolumne 
county, they excited considerable discussion among 
the Indians, many of whom remained in that sec- 
tion of the state long after the whites had prac- 


dbtnese Camp 

tically dispossessed them of their homes. It was 
held 'by some of the red men that the features, 
hair and color of the Chinese proved them to be 
Indians. It was claimed that the queue was 
merely an exaggerated scalp-lock. Others insisted 
that the queer-looking strangers were not Indians, 
nor even akin to the red man. The controversy 
ran high and great dissension arose. The ques- 
tion was finally settled in this wise: Quoth the 
Indians, in solemn pow-wow assembled, ''If yel- 
low face man Injun, him heap swim. If no Injun, 
him heap no swim." And then they proceeded to 
lay for the almond-eyed alien, "without process, 
or warrant, or color of law." A party of Indians 
chancing to meet two luckless Chinamen crossing 
the Tuolumne on a rude footbridge, straightway 
proceeded to make a test -case of them. The ver- 
dict was, "Yellow man no Injun. Heap no can 

Chinese Camp was once a lively, bustling town. 
The hum of honest industry was continually 
heard, the aforesaid hum being represented by 
the clink of the miner's ounces, tlhe rattle of chips 
and the shufBing of cards upon the gaming tables, 
.variegated by an occasional shot from the pistol 
of somebody or other who had little breath to 
waste in argument. How are the mighty fallen! 
Poor old Chinese! The streets are deserted, and 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

tlie night I was there the only noise that broke 
the peaceful quiet of the m'ountain air was the 
music of a merry-go-round. The little church- 
yard on the hill speaks volumes on the change 
from the old to the new. There lie the sturdy 
pioneers who made this camp in its palmy days 
a scene of bustle and activity punctuated with 
"accidents." They died young, for the most part, 
did those early settlers. The crumbling little head- 
stones tell the story. Inscriptions such as these 
are not rare in Sierran graveyards : 

"Here lies the body of John Williams, aged 25 
years. Murdered in Big Oak Flat. Mar. 10, 

"Sacred to the memory of Peter Walker. Died 
Jan. I, 1852, aged 40 years. Stabbed in Coulter- 

Note the reflection on other towns. The really 
good citizen was wont to go away to be killed. 

> ^ ^ 

Al>out eight miles {rom Chinese, on the Milton 
and Copperopolis road, is Byrne's ferry over the 
Stanislaus river. The term ferry is a little far- 
fetched at the present day, for a substantial bridge 
has recently been erected over the site of the old 


Uable /iDountatn 

ferry. The scenery at this point is among the 
grandest in California. Here may be seen to the 
best advantage that wonderful volcanic formation 
known as Table Mountain. This was originally 
formed by a mass of lava that flowed into the 
channel of an ancient river, extending for a dis- 
tance of twenty miles in Tuolumne county. It 
also traverses a corner of Calaveras county. No- 
where does it show its characteristic conformation 
so well as at Byrne's ferry. 

The hills that once bounded and confined the 
river of lava have been washed and worn down 
for hundreds of feet, leaving the bold and vertical 
sides of the lava bed in such form that it is now 
itself a mountain, the top of which is truly a table- 
land. Through a rift in Table Mountain the Stan- 
islaus River has forced its way, until it is now a 
5wift-running and most picturesque stream. Stand- 
ing upon the banks of the Stanislaus one can see, 
away up on the mountain side, several miles dis- 
tant, circling rings of blue smoke that mark the 
location of the celebrated Alta mine. Plunging 
over the edge of Table Mountain may be seen 
in the early spring a silvery ribbon of a waterfall. 
High up on the side of a green-wooded mountain 
opposite Table Mountain emerges another water- 
fall. These cataracts fall hundreds of feet. They 
fall until, despite their volume, w'hich is consider- 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

able, they vanish in feathery spray. The rays of 
the sun striking the falhng spray make beautiful 
rainbows. At the foot of every rainbow is in 
very truth a pot of gold. 

High up among the crags on the side of Table 
Mountain may be seen little white moving dots. 
These are young buzzards. Like the parent birds, 
distance lends them an interest and beauty not 
all their own. 

In the early days of mining in California, a lode 
of exceedingly rich auriferous gravel was found 
in the ancient river bed beneath the lava deposit 
of Table Mountain. Tunnels were drifted into 
it in every direction, tapping many paying strata. 
The flats and gulches in the vicinity were all found 
to *be very rich and were thoroughly worked out. 

A^ 4^ A^ 

Chinese boasts a brick hotel, once a famous and 
prosperous hostelry indeed. It was formerly kept 
by Count Solinsky, who was agent for Wells, 
Fargo & Co. for thirty-five years. The genial 
count is gone. Several landlords 'have come and 
gone since he left Chinese, but none were so suave, 
none so popular as he. In the good old days 
when the town was prosperous, the honors, so far 


Cbatactets at Chinese 

as popularity went, were about evenly divided be- 
tween the Count and kind old Dr. Lampson, the 
medical wiseacre of the place. The good old doc- 
tor has long since passed away, but the few old 
settlers who still remain remember him as their 
best friend and wisest counselor. But the pres- 
ent Boniface is himself **siome pumpkins.'' Six feet 
three in his stockings, and weighing three hun- 
dred ipounds, composed mainly of oleaginous good- 
nature, he is an ideal host. So cheerful is he that 
one feels glad to have him present his bill. 

Let it be understood that connoisseurs of fe- 
male beauty are wont to linger in Chinese Camp.. 
The belle of Tuolumne county presides over the 
festive board at the hotel. Sweet, sweet Mame! 
What a flood of tender recollections — I never or- 
dered steak — surge through my brain as I recall 
her blithe and saucy air and winsome ways. How 
bird-like the trill in her musical voice as she gave 
my order for two fried eggs, "not turned" — 

"I say, Chimmie, eggs twice, white wings, sunny 
side up !" 

I found but one old-timer whom I knew at Chi- 
nese, Archie MacLean, a sturdy old relic of the 
days wlien "miners wuz miners, an' don't yer fer- 

git it." 

Often when I meet such relics of the glorious 
days that are gone, I am tempted to believe that 


IPanama anD tbe Sierras 

they live in constant expectation of a renaissance 
of the gold fever. They have an all-abiding faith 
in the auriferous productiveness of the country, 
and believe that rich finds must be struck again 
sooner or later. "The gold that wuz dug outen 
them gulches, an' creeks, an' river bottoms, must 
ha' come from somewhar', an' somebody's bound 
to strike it some day." 

And the faith of the old-timers of Tuolumne 
is not without foundation. The mother lode, as 
the main fissure vein of gold is called, runs for 
many miles through Tuolumne and Calaveras 
counties. Somewhere or other among the moun- 
tains is the source of all the placer gold that has 
been taken out of the Tuolumne valley. One of 
my boyish dreams was to one day find this hid- 
den source of the gold which I saw the miners 
digging, and become a Croesus. 
; No one would suspect from the latter-day pov- 
erty of the soil in the gulches and valleys of the 
old placer mining regions that gold was ever found 
there in quantity sufficient to pay for working it. 
Every foot of the soil, 'however, has been 
worked over three or four times, with ever 
decreasing profit. After the white men got 
through, coolies in the employ of the Six 
Companies were set to work to clean up what 


a IReminiscence 

gold was left. There was then not enough to 
tempt ;a white man to bother with the dirt, but 
the Chinese, who live on next to nothing, found 
sufficient to pay them good wages. A Chinaman 
can live on what a white miner overlooks, but 
heaven help the man who follows the Chinaman. 
He will have pretty poor picking. The Chinese 
have effectively cleaned up every gold-bearing 
gulch in California. 'Twould be a very energetic 
hen that could scratch out a grain of gold in 
those formerly rich spots. 

'Twas at Chinese Camp that an incident oc- 
curred, many years ago, which very nearly made 
a half orphan of yours truly. My father was the 
legal "Pooh Balh'' of Jacksonville, and with a 
single deputy had gone to Chinese to round up 
several desperadoes. They took with them in lieu 
of a "Black Maria," a stout hay wagon. Among 
other men who were ticketed for a free ride to 
the Stockton bastile was a huge Coolie who was 
wanted for murder. My father had the wagon 
driven down to the Chinese quarter, and having 
located his man proceeded to arrest him. Now, 
Mr. Coolie was a very powerful man and chock full 
of fight, and my respected sire soon had his hands 
full. But after a few minutes' tussle the two men 
went down, the Coolie underneath. He was rap- 


IPanama anb tbe Sierras 

idly being choked into submission when the dep- 
uty suddenly cried out, "Look out there, old man ; 
look behind you!'' 

My father turned and saw, not three yards away, 
toddling toward him as fast as her queer little feet 
would permit, a Chinese woman brandishing a 
big two-handed sword, with the pleasant intention 
of cutting ofif his head while he was too busy 
to notice her approach ! Keeping one hand on 
the Coolie's throat he drew and cocked his six- 
shooter with the other and aimed it at the on- 
coming female. She gave one frightened look at 
the gun and then the woman came to the sur- 
face. She dropped the sword and toddled away, 
shrieking like a Comanche, leaving her Goolie 
friend, who was now thoroughly submissive, to 
be tied hand and foot and bundled into the wagon. 

4^ 4^ A^ 

Over a winding up-and-down road, between lofty 
green-mantled mountains and past sweet-smelling 
fields ablaze with poppies and bedecked with blue- 
bells, to Jacksonville, my native 'town. — How 
strange it seemed to return to my birthplace after 
so many years. And I did not go back with drums 
beating and colors flying either. The stage driver 


TObere /TO? TOorlD JSegan 

dumped me and my belonging's down at a cross- 
road, saying that he never crossed the creek, but 
there was a footbridge and I could get across all 
right. As I liad ridden out of town in state wihen 
I left the place, the prospect of returning in the 
role of "Dusty Rhodes" was not pleasing. But 
I pretended to like it, shouldered my grip and 
tackled the foot bridge. 'Twas thus the wanderer 
returned. — 

How everything had changed ! When Jackson- 
ville was in its prime it was the most noted min- 
ing town in Tuolumne. At one time it had three 
thousand inliabitants and now — we'll, there are 
twenty-four houses in the town, and some of them 
are unoccupied. Ah, but that dear old town is 
abundantly peopled 'by ghosts ! Boston Pete, 
Dixie, Mexico, Big Brown, Klamath Joe, Poker 
Jim, Toppy — ^heroes oi my ^boyhood — gone, all 
gone. And the few old-timers that were left seemed 
to have forgotten me. When I introduced myself 
they simply stared blankly. The nearest I came 
to being recognized was when I found an old 
fellow who remembered my dog. Diamond, a fa- 
mous hunter, known throughout all the moun- 
tains. I recalled poor old Rip Van Winkle and 
his dog Schneider, whom nobody remembered, 
and was consoled. I finally met an old fellow 
who was postmaster in the old days and was fa- 

Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

miliar with ithe spelling of my name. He remem- 
bered me at once. In introducing me to his wife, 
however, he said, "Mary, this is Dr. Litz." He 
immediately corrected himself, but the mystery 
was explained. It suddenly flashed upon me that 
those old miners never knew that my father ever 
had any other name than the nickname given him 
by his fellow pioneers, in accordance with the 
miners' -custom, immediately upon his arrival in 
the country. Taking the hint I reintroduced my- 
self to the old settlers. That my welcome was a 
warm <one is one of the pleasantest recollections 
of my visit. 

In its early days Jacksonville was known far and 
wide as the location of wonderfully rich placer 
mines. Its location is most picturesque. Wild 
and crude it always was and now is, but I have 
never seen a prettier spot than that wild canyon 
among the foothills of the glorious Sierras, where, 
at the junction of the historic Wood's creek and 
the Tuolumne River — "the meeting of the waters" 
— nestles my native town. Peopled in my child- 
hood's days with as cosmopolitan and heterogene- 
ous a population as was ever gathered together 
within the confines of one small town, the place 
was to be remembered for its novelty, if for noth- 
ing more. 



Ages and ages of heavy rainfall, with alternately 
rising and receding waters in the river and creek, 
and centuries of melting snows on the majestic 
mountains above, ihad washed down into the val- 
ley of the Tuolumne those auriferous particles the 
great abundance of which made the Jacksonville 
of old spring into busy life and prosperity almost 
in a single day. 

But the very elements that laid the alluring 
foundation of the valley's wealth eventually 
avenged the rifling of its golden stores by the 
irreverent hands of the modern Argonauts. There 
came a very heavy rainfall, in the latter part of 
the winter of i860 and the spring of 1861. The 
terrific downpour of rain and the melting snows 
from the Sierras caused a freshet that inundated 
the valley and almost wiped Jacksonville out of 
existence. I recall the terrors of that awful flood 
as though it w^ere but yesterday. Very few houses 
were left standing. One of these chanced to be 
our own Httle cottage. 'My father saved it by 
passing a rope through a door and window and 
making it fast to a tree on the side of a hill 
above the town. The house stood triumphant un- 
til five years ago, when another freshet came along 
and swept it down the river. One of two large 
fig trees that stood in our front yard is still alive 


Panama anD tbe Stetvas 

and thriving. It is now a huge old veteran, and 
when I last saw it was loaded with fruit. 

The Tuolumne River is a variable stream, and 
in the dry season is but a thin, silvery ribbon across 
which one can almost walk dry shod in places. 
In the late spring and early summer it is a swift- 
running, laughing stream of exquisite beauty. It 
is difficult to believe that it ever becomes a rag- 
ing, pitiless torrent. Yet in the rainy season it 
may at any time bring death, destitution and mis- 
ery to that beautiful valley. As I stooped at the 
river bank and drank of the pure, cold water from 
the melting Sierran snows, the memory of that 
awful time in the long ago came back to me all 
too vividly, and in fancy I could once more see 
the invincible torrent that practically engulfed the 
little town and ruined its rich placers. 

I do not claim that my native town presented 
in early times an ideal state of civilization. But, 
despite occasional incidents where "bloodshed 
alone could atone for some trifling misstatement," 
life and property were safer there than in many 
more pretentious communities at -the present day. 
A sense of personal responsibility made the French 
the politest of all nations. It was the soul that 
beat back the waves of shot and shell that hailed 
upon the flower of the old South on many a bloody 


©ID XauDmarFis 

battlefield. A similar spirit of self-assertion and 
personal responsibility pervaded the Tuolumne 
valley and raised its average moral standard above 
that of many a metropolis of a more vicious and 
effete civilization. 

Warm-hearted and impulsive, honest, courage- 
ous, fiery-tempered, quick-'triggered Argonauts of 
the Tuolumne valley — heroes of my boyhood and 
friends of my later years — a health to those of 
you w*ho still live, and peace to the ashes of those 
who have laid down the pick and pan forever 
and inspected their sluice boxes for the last time. 
When the final "clean-up" comes, may the "find" 
be full of nuggets, sixteen dollars and better to 
the ounce. 

Of the old-time buildings in Jacksonville but 
three remain. The combined inroads of freshets 
and ambitious miners have swept away the river 
side of the single street. A typic miner's cabin, 
built in 1850, stands on the hill above the street, 
lonely and deserted, as a monument to the old 

But there are many other famiUar landmarks. 
The Sheet Anchor ranch, once owned by an uncle 
of mine, is marked by a little old shanty, built 
and occupied by an aged Chinaman, a pioneer of 
the early 50's. The lumber used in its construc- 
tion came from my uncle's deserted house, which 


Panama an^ the Sierras 

was almost destroyed by fire a few years ago. 
The old Chinaman is a quaintly picturesque char- 
acter. Many 'tourists have tried to get the old 
man's picture, but without success. The old fel- 
low remembered me, however, and consented to 
allow me to take his photograph. To my disgust 
he insisted on dressing up for the occasion. He 
rushed into his cabin, changed his hat for one 
of a different kind of decrepitude and came forth 
with a cardigan jacket in his hand. He removed 
his tattered coat, put on the jacket and then 
donned his coat again, buttoning it closely around 
him. Thus arrayed. Ah Bing was serenely con- 
scious of being the proper thing. 

Another old landmark is the ruins of Toppy*s 
cabin. Toppy was the special friend of my (Child- 
hood. Our friendship began w^hen he pulled me 
out of a mud-bank one day, and was firmly ce- 
mented when he went back later and dug up 
my first pair of red-topped boots, that had been 
pulled off my feet by the sticky mud. No one 
knew much of Toppy's history. He had an edu- 
cation; he was a good fellow; he could swing a 
pick with the best of them, and shoot — well, he 
could shoot well enough to make him respected. 
That the rough old fellow v/as good to little boy^, 
the painful memory of sundry indigestions due 
to the goodies he used to buy for me whenever 


Hn Hban^one^ placet 

he went to Frisco, amply testifies. I asked after 
my old friend, but he was forgotten, save by one 
or two old-timers. They said he was dead, but 
they had no idea where or when he died, a:s he 
had been gone from Jacksonville for many years. 

To me the most interesting landmark in Tuo- 
lumne is an old abandoned placer mine on the 
bank of the river. My father wcrkeci this mine 
in '49 or '50. It was very rich, and had his thrift 
been equal to his industry, he need not have 
worked for the remainder of his life. But money 
went as easily as it came in these days of rich 
placers. The miners seemed to think ijhey would 
never reach hard pan. But only too many of 
them reached it. Very '^ew of the pioneer miners 
had anything to show for their labor and hardship 
when the bubble burst. 

Time .was when the town of Jacksonville sup- 
ported several hotels. The old Empire, built by 
my grandfather, sturdy old Rct)ert McCoun, was 
wasihed down the river in '61. The Tuolumne 
house was recently demolished to keep it from 
falling down. This was a far-famed hostelry in 
its day. Jacksonville is only about sixty miles 
from the Yosemite valley, and tourists formerly 
came directly through the town, almost invaria- 
bly stopping en route. George Keyse, its old-time 
proprietor, was a noted character, a Boniface to 


ff>anama anb tbe Sierras 

the manner iborn, who could take a ^un or a knife 
from an excited hoarder as quickly and grace- 
fully as 'he could turn his own flap-jacks. 

Still more noted was Dave Smuggins, who offi- 
ciated alternately as clerk, porter and 'barkeeper 
of the hotel. He was a man of parts, Dave was, 
and 'twas said was educated for the ministry. 
His fitness for that calling was shown by the sing- 
song oratorical display with which he was wont 
to call the boarders o' mornings: "Arouse, all 
ye sleepers ! List to the little airly birds singin' 
praises tew the Lord! D — n yer bloody eyes, git 

Dave finally met a man who differed with him 
on some point of religion or other, and soon there- 
after there was one less of the tribe of Smug- 
gins. He was buried with miner's honors at a 
place called McKinney's Humbug, up in Calaveras 
county, I beUeve. 

i^ 4^ ifi 

In the palmy days of tihe placers the Yosemite 
valley road crossed Wood's creek at a ford the 
safety of which varies with the season, as many 
a luckless rider or driver has found to his cost. 
I well remember the drowning of one poor fel- 


DccspeD Grandeur 

low just after a spring freshet, who attempted 
to ford the creek when the water was high. After 
passing the ford Uhe old road skirted the Tuo- 
lumne river for about three miles to another ford 
at what was known as Stevens' Bar. Here the 
way lay across the river .and up one of its tribu- 
taries, Moccasin creek. The route traversed by 
the road is an ever-changing (panorama of pic- 
turesque beauty. 

Stevens' Bar was probably the richest 'placer in 
all the state. Over $2,000,000 was taken out of 
the bed of the river in the vicinity of the old ford. 
Since then the sand and gravel have been v^orked 
over and over until even a Chinaman couldn't 
find "color." 

At the bar on the Jacksonville side stands a 
relic of former grandeur, that illustrates, perhaps 
better than any description could do, the fall in 
the fortunes of the placer mines. It is the ruin 
of what was once a palatial stone house. The 
builder, Charley Deering, expended about $12,000 
upon it. Here he kept a miners' exchange and 
conducted the ferry and toll foot bridge across 
the Tuolumne. He made a fortune of probajbly 
half a million dollars. A few years later all was 
changed. The placers became profitless, a new 
road to the Yosemite was built on the opposite 
side ol the river and travelers were then inde- 


Panama auD tbe Sierras 

pendent of the Stevens' Bar ferry and footbridge. 
To accentuate the disaster to Deering's business 
venture, one Moffit built a toll bridge lower down 
the river, across the Tuolumne canyon. Charley 
succumlbed to the inevitaible, struck camp and 
went to Frisco, intending to live in comfort the 
rest of his days on the pile he had made at the 
ferry. But alas! the fates pursued him. He fell 
to speculating in stocks, went flat broke and died 
in an asylum for the insane. How pathetic the 
story of the old stone house. What dramas have 
been enacted within its walls. One can almost 
hear the clink of the golden ounces as the sturdy 
miners threw down 'ttheir bags of buckskin to be 
weighed in exchange for coin. Nowhere did I 
feel the oppression of the wondrous change in 
the scenes of my childhood more than at Stevens' 
Bar. Desolate, deserted, beautiful, crumbling reHc 
of the old regime, monument to the enterprise of 
the early pioneers, thou wert one of the palaces 
of my childish dreams. Thou art a sad memory 
of my later years. 

At Moffit's bridge across the Tuolumne canyon 
IS a picturesque little road-house. The builder of 
the bridge, after whom it was named, formerly 
lived here and did a thriving business with Yo- 
semite tourislts and travelers going to and from 
the towns and camps up the river. The bridge 


ffrencb Uom 

was bought by the county a few years since and 
toll is no longer exacted. The road-house is now 
kept by a one-armed German, who, with his in- 
teresting family, is giving an illustration of people 
content with little. To my surprise he informed 
me that he was a former Chicagoan — North-sider, 
of course. Had I needed any evidence that the 
world is small, this coincidence would have af- 
forded it. 

X. yz :x. 

Just opposite the mouth of Moccasin creek, on 
the rig^ht bank of the Tuolumne, stands a lonely, 
decrepit little cabin. The surrounding scenery is 
as beautiful as a dream of fairyland, but the spot 
is far too lonesome for human habitation, and 
too thronged with ghostly memories of by-gone 
days and my boyhood's friends to excite my ad- 
miration to the full. There, in that solitary hut, 
lives old Tom Hayes, the "French Tom" of '49. 
Solitude has no terrors for this octogenarian, land 
memory brings no ghosts to disturb his peaceful 
solitude. To him, the characters of long ago are 
ever present. They throng his reminiscences and 
are a part of his very self. They people his daily 
reveries and niglitly dreams — ^they are still actuali- 
ties in his life. Dear old Tom, was there ever such 


Panama an& tbe Sierras 

another character ? And how glad the old man was 
to see me. He gave me a welcome the sincerity 
of which I could not question. How Tom and I 
reveled in reminiscences of the days when Stevens' 
Bar was a famous placer and Jacksonville a boom- 
ing town. The old man remembered everybody of 
consequence who had ever lived in the Tuolumne 
valley, and his conversation was a iveritable feast 
for me. 

To the uninitiated, Tom's manner of living would 
be mysterious. Like the tramp, he has no visible 
means of support. But, as he says, "Two bits a 
day is enough, and that's not so hard to git." 
Tom's lines are set o'nights, and many is the fine 
fish 'he captures. When luck is with him he stops 
fishing till the catch is eaten. Tom does not fish 
for fun, but for provender. In the middle of the day 
he is usually 'to be seen sitting outside his lonely 
cabin, smoking an old dudeen and gazing out 
across the t)ar toward Moccasin Creek. Hour 
after hour he sits there dreaming, and apparently 
unconscious of his solitude. There is not a house 
in sight, and some day, not so far away, I fear, the 
old man will die there in his lonely cabin, and no 
one will know of his death for days and days. 
Such was the fate of old Colonel Buckner, one of 
the old-timers, who died in a cabin on Kanaka 


H ipioneer's lams 

Creek, away up in the hills back of Jacksonville, a 
few months before any visit. The dead man was 
not discovered for nearly a week. 

Tom very rarely goes to town, nowadays. I 
asked him why, and he repHed : "Well, sorr, Oi'm 
jist as good in me legs as iver Oi wuz, but, ye see, 
it's this way, sorr. There do be two saloons down 
there, an' the fellers that kapes thim is good frinds 
av moine. But w'hin Oi goes ter wan av thim, the 
feller that kapes the other wan gits jealous, an' 
there's the divil ter pay. So Oi jist kapes away 

The old man has resources unsuspected by the 
casual observer. He is a miner to the manner 
born, and puts in some time each day upon his 
various "prospect holes." Once in a w^'hile he sells- 
one to some tenderfoot, and then there is joy along 
the Tuolumne. His opinion of his mining ventures 
is expressed in his advice to me : "Don't ye iver 
touch 'em. Dr. Litz. There's not wan in foive 
hundred that's worth a dam, sorr." This, after he 
had vainly tried to interest me in some of his 

Near the old pioneer's cabin a small boat may 
be seen upon the beach. Tom picks up many a 
two-bit piece conveying travelers from bank to 


IPanama ant) tbe Sierras 

bank of the Tuolumne, on their way to and from 
Big Oak Flat, Priest's, Goulterville and the Yose- 

One morning as my old friend and I stood gaz- 
ing across the river, he grew more than usually 
reminiscent. Pointing his finger at a boulder as 
big as a good-sized house, a short distance up 
Moccasin Creek, he said: 

"Ivry toime Oi luk at that boulder, Oi think av 
ould Big Brown — ^Dirty-Shirt Brown the bhoys 
called 'im. Ye see, Brown was a divil. He was a 
gret han' at poker, but, bedad, yez niver 
cud tell whin the blackguard was goin' ter 
cold deck yez. Minny's the toime he druv 
the gafif inter me. But we niver cud catch 'im 
at it, tho' we was on to him. But he was a foine 
feller, was Big Brown, an' we all loiked ter play 
cards wid him. Well, yer own Uncle Tom was 
settin' in a game wid Brown, an' me, an' a lot more 
av the bhoys wan noight, an' he got ter roastin' 
Brown. 'Brown,' says he, 'Oi'm gittin' more con- 
fidence in ye.* 'How's that?' says Brown. 'Well,* 
says Tom, 'Oi've found somethin' Oi can trust yez 
wid.' 'An' phats that ?' says Brown. 'Oh, wid that 
big boulder up Moccasin Creek.' 

"Spakin' av Brown," continued the old man, 
"did yez iver hear the sthory av his biled shirt? 
Well, ye see, *twas this way. Some of the bhoys up 


Brown'0 BileD Sbitt 

at Mokdume Hill was givin' a dance. A lot av 
our bhoys was goin' up, an' Big Brown said he 
was goin' along. Now, the bhoys wasn't shtuck 
on him goin'. They wanted to luk purty shwell, 
an' was afraid ould Brown cudn't stack up wid' em. 
Ye see, he didn't change his shirt, even on shpecial 
occasions, an' that's why we called 'im Dirty-Shirt 

"There was no way out av it, so the bhoys made 
up their moinds ter make the besht av it, an' see if 
they cudn^t fix him up. 'Brown,' says they, 'yer a 
foine, han'some 'man, hut yez don't do yersilf jus- 
tice, sorr. Yer the foinest man in 'this town, an' we 
want yer ter show up in great stoyle at the dance. 
Now, we want yer ter go down ter Sthockton an' 
git an illegant biled shirt, an' collar, an' necktie, an' 
things.' Afther some pursuadin' they got him ter 
go. When he came back he was luggin' the biled 
shirt an' other fixin's all done up noice an' toight 
in brown paper. He left the shtuff wid McGinnis, 
him that kipt the big boardin' house, do ye moind. 

"Well, yer Uncle Tom goes up ter Brown an' 
says, says he, 'Lookee here. Brown, do ye shpose 
we're goin' -ter let yez go up ter Mokelume wid 
that bale av whiskers on the face av yez? Why, 
nobody can see yer biled shirt! Come along wid 
me, now, an' git a shave.' So yer uncle takes 
ould Brown an' plants him in the barber's chair. 


Panama an^ the Sierras 

"As soon as t^e barber gits ter work, Tom goes 
ter McGinnis' place an' tells th' ould fool that 
Brown wants his bundle. Mac gives it to him an' 
Tom takes it to the bhoys. They goes down ter 
the bank av the creek an' cuts a piece av shlate 
jist the soize av the shirt, takes out the shirt from 
the paper an' puts in the shlate. Then they tuck it 
back ter McGinnis. 

"Now, ye see, there wasn't inny shtage up ter 
Mokelume, an' the boys had ter foot it. It's twelve 
moiles up there, over the hills, so it wasn't inny 
shnap. Av coorse. Brown didn't want ter put the 
biled shirt on before he got there, so he tucked 
the bundle under his arrum widout openin' it at 
all, an' pikes along up the road. Whin he got to 
Mokelume an' opened that bundle he was plumb 
spacheless fer a minute. Then he pulled his six- 
shooter an' tore 'round among the bhoys like a 
crazy man, lukin' fer the feller that played the 
thrick on him. But nobody iver tould him who it 
was. Brown was jist a leetle excoitable an' Jack- 
sonville was a paceable town, an' we wanted ter 
kape it that way." 

Having in mind sundry incidents that had oc- 
curred in Jacksonville within my own recollection, 
I said, "But the old town used to break out a lit- 
tle sometimes, didn't it?" 


H peaceable Community 

*'No, sorr, not a bit av it. She was wan av the 
paceablest towns in the diggin's. Why, sorr, yer 
own father was pace officer fer a long toime." 

"Ah, of course, of course, it really was a peace- 
able town. By the way, Tom, what became of 

"Why, sorr, don't ye remimber? Wall-eyed 
Murphy killed Mex. roight in front av th* ould 
lEmpire "hotel, the same that yer grandfather kept in 
the airly 50s." 

"Oh, yes, I remember nqw. And how about 
Doc. McGregor?" 

"Begorra, th' ould Doc. had almosht shlipped 
me moind. Some feller shtuck a knife in th' ould 
man wan noight over in Shmart's Garden, an' be 
the same token nobody iver knowed who did it." 

And there were others, but family pride pre- 
vented me from pressing the subject further. 

To many persons living in the east or middle 
west, the stories told of the lawlessness of the 
California mining towns in early days may seem 
exaggerated. I would refer skeptics to the "His- 
tory of Tuolumne County."* Some of the items in 
the chronology of the county are strikingly sug- 
gestive. I quote a few of them: 



Panama an^ tbc Sierras 

"May 10, 1849. Boyd murdered by Atkins at 
IBig Bar on Sullivan's Creek. Murderer fined $500 
and ordered to leave the district by Alcalde 

A horrible punishment, indeed ! 

"August 25, 185 1. Tindal Newby murdered by 
A. J. Fuller at Shaw's Flat. The murderer was 
sentenced to nine months' imprisonment and a fine 
of $100." 

Another terrible vindication of justice ! 

"November 20, 1853. Sam Poole killed at Cur- 
tisville by McCarthy. The murderer was sen- 
tenced to jail for two years." 

Verily, the chronology of Tuolumne County is a 
variegated one. I have merely given a few sam- 
ples. It is cheering to read in the same entertain- 
ing volume an account of the hanging of a couple 
of desperadoes for killing a Chinaman. Local 
prejudice must have been responsible for their ex- 
ecution. There was no "close season" for China- 
men in those days. 

But every town in Tuolumne had its epileptiform 
spasms of virtue, when all sorts of evil-doers had 
cause to tremble. Such acute attacks of propriety 
were usually precipitated by a few "sore-heads" 
who had lost money at the gaming table. The 


XTbe IkirxQ ot tbe IRoaO 

professional gamlblers had to go, leaving the field 
to the amateurs. While they were about it, the 
virtuous citizens made a clean sweep, laying sun- 
dry "ladies" and all persons whose halbits were not 
above suspicion under the 'ban. It was then, ''Go, 
or stretch !" and the banished ones stood not upon 
the order of their going. Who that has read Bret 
Harte's "Exiles of Poker Flat" is not rather thank- 
ful for the pioneer custom that made his beautiful 
story possiHe? It must have 'been sft some such 
time, I fancy, that hanging those white men for 
killing a Chinaman was possible in Tuolumne 
County. But, as I have already said, despite the 
arbitrament of the six-shooter and bowie, and the 
tender offices of Judge Lynch, life and property 
were pretty safe in Tuolumne — safer than* in some 
higher-toned communities. 

It is worthy of note that most of Bret Harte's 
characters were unearthed in Tuolumne and Cal- 
veras counties. He was not compelled to resort 
to his imagination for them, for there were plenty 
and to spare. The people of his stories are, there- 
fore, true to the life. 

On the old Yosemite joad, in the days of that 
king of bandits, Joaquin Muriata, many stirring, 
and oft-times tragical, scenes were enacted. I re- 
member an incident in my father's experience that 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

well illustrates Joaquin's ruthless character. His 
band had robbed a party of tourists, and had made 
a (prisoner of a well-to-do Englishman, with the 
intention of holding him for ransom. My father, 
with a posse, was in hot pursuit, and bade fair to 
overtake the robbers. As a reward of $50,000 had 
been offered for Joaquin, dead or alive, the posse 
iwas more than anxious to meet the gentleman. 
The robbers finially took to the timber. In a few 
moments the ofBcers heard a number of shots, and 
shortly thereafter found the dead body of the poor 
Englishman, tied to a tree and fairly riddled with 
bullets. The murderers finally escaped. 

Joaquin was supposed by many to bear a 
charmed life. A shrewd borderer drew his own 
conclusions on this point from having vainly fired 
at the bandit at close quarters several times, and 
the next time he got a shot at him, aimed at his 
head and "potted" him. The ''charmed life" was 
found to consist of a fine coat of mail beneath 
Joaquin's clothing. The bandit's head was after- 
ward exhibited at Frisco at four bits a look. A 
Mexican woman, who had once been his sweet- 
heart, on seeing the head, exclaimed, "No Joaquin, 
no Joaquin !" Many old-timers thereafter doubted 
the genuineness of the gruesome relic. My father, 
however, went to Frisco, solely to satisfy himself 

H Celestial IReltc 

that his old enemy was indeed dead. His com- 
ment was that he had "never seen Joaquin looking 
so well." As he expressed it when he returned 
home, "Joaquin looked like a mighty good fellow, 
and I think he has reformed." 

*^ i^ > 

' In former times the population of -the Tuolumne 
valley was composed largely of Chinese. When the 
placer boom exploded, the slant-eyed Celestials 
disappeared as suddenly as a lot of rats deserting 
a sinking ship. The Chinaman is a thrifty fellow 
and has very little time for forlorn hopes. He 
wastes even less time in sentiment. A few only 
of the Chinese pioneers remained in the valley. 
Of these, three were living when I visited the place 
a year ago. Two, Ah Fook and Ah Wong, have 
since died. The third. Ah Bing, is still living. 
Queer-looking, interesting characters were they 
all. Ah Fook in particular was worthy of descrip- 
tion. He was above the average stature of his 
race, and, unlike most Chinamen, possessed of a 
moustache and imperial. Strange to say, all three 
of the Mongohan relics had either beards or 
moustache. Ah Fook was 83 years of age and had 


Panama auD tbe Sierras 

been in the valley since '50. He had never learned 
much English. Many of his race are very non- 
progressive in 'this respect. 

I had considerafble troulble in making myself 
known to the old fellow. My knowledge of Chinese 
has been derived solely from the perusal of fire- 
cracker labels and tea-chest bieroglyphics, and as I 
have always been concerned chiefly with the quality 
of the goods rather than the language with which 
the same is designated, I am not au fait in it. I iwas 
glad, therefore, to let Ah Fook select his own 
method of expression and talk "Pigeon EngUsh." 
This jargon does well enough in conversing with 
such quaint characters, and, I suspect, adds greatly 
to their picturesqueness. 

Introducing one's self is always somewhat em- 
barrassing to a diffident person like myself. You 
needn't grin so sarcastically, my good friend; I 
am diffident to a degree. Introducing myself to 
Ah Fook was more than erribarrassing ; it was a 
heroic task. I realized that it was of no use to try 
my civilized name on him, so I said — 

*'You sabe allee samee Litz, long time ago?" 

Whereat he made reply, "Me heap no sabe allee 
samee Litz." 

I then bethought me of the name by which my 
father was known to the Chinese of the valley, with 



Hb ifoo?i's t)O0pitallt^ 

whom he was very popular, and asked-"You sabe 
allee samee Ah Jim, long, long time ago?" 

"Hi yah !" he exclaimed, joyfully, "me heap sabe 
allee samee Ah Jim. Belly good felly, Ah Jim. 
Long tlime ago him too muchee glone away." 

When I made known to .the old fellow that I 
,was "Ah Jim's boy" his expressions of delight were 
as extravagant as his dialect would permit with- 
put choking him. 

As I was about to leave his rickety cabin I gave 
the old man two bits. He was not in the habit of 
seeing coin very often, and how he lived is a mys- 
tery, but he had not forgotten the courtesy due 
Irom the old pioneer to the tenderfoot. Instead of 
saying good-by, he insisted on accompanying me 
over the bridge to Moffit's road house, where he 
took me by the arm, led me into the bar-room and 
proceeded to "blow" himself in the most approved 
style. Animal food being interdicted by my con- 
sultants, I couldn't take "rye," which not only 
grieved my Oriental friend, but, I fear, led him 
to suspect that I was a counterfeit, and not a 
former Tuolumne boy at all. 

. As already remarked, the Chinaman is not senti- 
mental. I am, to an immoderate extent — I was 
especially so in those surroundings ; who wouldn't 
have been ? — ^and I confess to a choky sensation be- 
hind my collar button during my visit with Ah 


IPanama an& tbe Sierras 

Fook. He was a relic of the rosy-hued days of my 
childhood. Playmates were scarce in those days — 
children were at a premium in the diggings — and 
the "grown-ups" who were kind to me have never 
be;en forgotten. The old Chinaman was one of 
these. Many and many a time he took me to his 
house in the Chinese quarter and fed me with 
such rice as only he could prepare, and confections 
the composition of which only Chinamen know, but 
yhich were deHcacies rare to my childish palate. 

I we'll remember that in the lugubrious days of 
those crampy ailments that the wise old women of 
the little town called "wormy," Ah Fook and his 
goodies were tabooed. My mother enlisted 
Toppy's sympathies, and the old man — who was to 
me a sort of demi-god — ^finally weaned me from the 
Chinese sweets by discovering that some of those 
waxy, queer-looking cakes were made of the meat 
of rats and young puppies. 

Ah Fook resented the slander on his sweet- 
meats. "Toppy allee samee no glood ! Me no 
makee lat plies ! Heap no likee pup ! Sabe ?" 

I half suspected that I was being "jobbed" by my 
miner friend, but there was enough doubt in my 
mind to make me eschew the sweetmeats. It was 
an expensive business for Toppy, though. He was 
obliged to bring an extra supply of toys up from 
Stockton on his periodic trips down country. 


/IDinina Utanstormattons 

It was with genuine sorrow that I heard of the 
death of my Chinese friend at my last visit to the 
valley. He is missed, too, 'by the handful of old 
settlers who still remain in Jacksonville. Heathen 
though he was, he was a part of them— a link that 
bound them to' a glorious past. 

» i^ i^ 

To one who is familiar with the old methods of 
mining in California, the new system seems a mar- 
velous change. With the passing of the placers, 
individual mining almost disappeared. The old- 
time miner with his pick and pan, his shovel, cradle 
and sluice boxes, little dreamed of the vast hoards 
of auriferous wealth that lay beneath his feet in 
t?he heart of the Sierran hills. Even had he known, 
the gold was inaccessible to him. He had none of 
the appliances necessary to getting it out from the 
rock, nor the large capital required to procure 
them. Indeed, the milling appliances of that day 
were so extremely crude that quartz mining was 
not very profitable. The lack of the abundance 
of water demanded in extensive mining operations 
was an almost insuperable obstacle to successful 
mining on a large scale. Even the humble miner 
with his placer claim and pick and pan was often 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

limited in his operations by a scarcity of water. 
There are to-day in California rich lodes that are 
practically valueless because of the scanty supply 
of water — as many a tenderfoot has discovered, to 
his cost. 

In the good old days of '49, the "boys" used to 
"salt" mines for the tenderfoot. A shotgun was 
loaded with fine gold and fired into the nearest 
gravel bank. When Mr. Tenderfoot came along 
he was given a dhance to prospect on the target. 
As might be inferred, color was abundant and the 
tenderfoot usually bit, and bit so hard that the 
barbs went clear through this gills. But the day of 
the shotgun is no more. The fashion nowadays is 
to sell the unwary stranger a prospect that is a 
"dandy" indeed — only there isn't any water to work 
it, nearer than fifteen miles, and it would cost a 
dollar a pint to get it to the mine. 

Many of my friends have been "bititen in mining 
speculations, and I often wonder if any of them 
have ever inspected the various properties in which 
they have sunk their hard-earned dollars. Thou- 
sands and thousands of misspent dollars are often 
represented by an insignificant hole in the side of a 
hill, scarcely big enough for a short man to enter 
it without stooping. The owner of the shaft points 
triumphantly to a pile of dirt and rock near the 
mou'fh of the prospect hole, saying : "That, sir, is 


/IDintno IFnnoccnts 

some o'f the best ore in the state. Why, it assays 
$100 a ton, sir ! Just think of that ! I'm going to 
(bond it for 'half a million." 

And he does bond it for half a million, and then 
it is stocked for a lot more. By and by some- 
body gets rich, but, depend upon it, the bond and 
stock holders don't get a cent and have nothing 
but assessment notices and some bits of worthless 
paper to show for their lost dollars. The promoter 
is the fellow who drives the snipe. The investors 
'hold the bag. 

Tuolumne county is perhaps the richest in gold 
of any portion of California, but it is safe to say 
that iew if any of its numerous incorporated mines 
are paying dividends. ''The dividends are coming; 
all we need is a little more money for develop- 
ment!" This is the cry of the insiders, and the 
small stockholders keep on throwing good money 
after bad as long as they can stand it. They then 
throw up their hands, the select inner circle gets 
control and by and by somebody makes money. 
I have known dozens of men who have gone into 
mining ventures, but no man of my acquaintance 
ever made a dollar out of them, save a few pro- 
moters. The rest have lost all they invested. 

To prospective investors in mining shares I say, 
"Go and look at that hungry hole in the ground 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

before you put your money into it. Having looked, 
go home and rent a box in a safety deposit vault 
and lock up your funds therein." 

As a recent writer 'has aptly said : "Mining is a 
game of hazard against nature. Your mine may 
pay 'from the grass roots,' you may, on the other 
hand, put a superb fortune — if you can borrow it 
back East — ^into a mere hole in the ground; the 
richest vein may 'peter' to-morrow, and when your 
mine begins to play out and the grade runs low, 
you are afraid to sell, lest the purchaser, running 
a tunnel a few yards further into the mountain, 
locate ore that would have made you a millionaire." 
And so the game goes merrily on. 

But there are some good mining chances in 
Tuolumne. Men with immense capital Who can 
give mining their personal attention can find 
very profitaJble ventures there. Small investors had 
better keep out. The Republican mine is very rich 
and will one day pay well. The same is true of the 
Shawmut. This latter is a sixty-stamp mill with 
an almost unlimited supply of good--paying ore in 
sight. Even these promising mines have, I be- 
lieve, paid no dividends as yet. 

The Shawmut mine is especially interesting to 
me. It was originally a rich placer belonging to 
my grandfather, Robert McCoun, one of the early 
pioneers. It was then called, from its location, the 



, .y ,,p'^' 


1^, /*; ,.'^^,^^^ 

1 '1 


'>p*\ * ■ :*^^4|P'; 


















I ^'^^^ 


f ■ 

^ '^ ^''S^^ 



• ' ^ ic : . 

Tt /IDtabt 1ba\)e Beert 

Blue Gulch mine. The vein and pockets were 
finally apparently exhausted and the mine aban- 
doned. It fell into other hands and a few years 
ago was sold for something like $300,000, being 
afterward stocked for many times that. I wonder 
what the canny old Scot would have said could he 
have known the price his discarded mine was 
destined to bring. Little good would it have done 
him, even had he known the wealth that lay within 
the hill that overshadowed his claim. Free gold 
he could handle, but milling ore would have been 
rather cumbersome for him, I fear. 

The days of rich pockeits have been revived some- 
what of late. Every once in a while someone 
strikes it rich by unearthing a pocket of free gold 
in the gravel. Hydraulic mining is carried on to a 
considerable extent in claims where free gold is 
found or believed to exist. It is by long odds the 
simplest and most economic method where high^ 
pressure water is available. 

All the availaible mining land in California is 
patented. The sihrewd owner wastes no time in 
prospecting. He leaves the working of his claims 
to others, for the consideration of 25 per cent of 
the find. With a number of men at work on his 
land, he is quite likely to participate, sooner or 
later, in a "ten strike.'' He sometimes feels a bit 


IPanama ant) tbe Sierras 

(disgruntled wOien the lessee strikes it rich, but 
as a rule he takes both the find and his percentage 

4^ i^ 4^ 

Apropos of my impressions of the mining in- 
dustry of California, I am reminded of a primitive 
method practiced by an old fellow in Jacksonville. 
At the junction of the far-famed Woods' Creek 
with the Tuolumne River is a spot that to me is by 
far the most interesting in all the world — the site 
upon whidh formerly stood the house of my nativ- 
ity. The ground upon which the house stood has 
been washed and mined away until a steep bank 
only remains, at the foot of which is part of what is 
now the river bed during high water. Upon the 
bank, at a point corresponding exactly with the 
site of my birthplace, stands a grotesque con- 
trivance known as a "raster."* This consists of a 
circular, tub-like trough, floored with flat, rough 
rocks laid in such fashion that interstices of small 
size are left between them. In the center is a re- 
volving wooden pivot, from which extend' three 
wooden arms, each of which is provided at its ex- 
tremity with two huge stones, arranged so that 

'Spanish, rastra. 


Hn Bntbustasttc /IDiner 

when the pivot revolves they are dragged around 
upon the rock floor of the trough. Two discon- 
solate horses wearily follow each other in a foot- 
path around the huge tub, furnishing the power 
that propels the arms. Into the troug'h, dirt, 
gravel and water are poured. These materials are 
ground up into a soft magma, into which all the 
free gold is liberated. The gold settles to the bot- 
tom of the mushy stuff and finally gravitates into 
the interstices of the floor of the contrivance, from 
which, on "clean up" day, it as collected. 

The raster in question was employed in grinding 
up "taihngs" from the mines, which tailings are 
often productive enoug'h to yield a living to one of 
modest ambition. 

On a rude seat fastened upon the central pivot 
of the queer contrivance, sat an old, old mam — 
eighty years of age at the very least. Like the fel- 
low who spun the yarn of the Nancy Bell, "his hair 
was weedy, his beard was long, and weedy and 
long was he." Hour after hour he sat the/re, half 
asleep, occasionally rousing himself to expectorate 
a mouthful of toibacco juice and "cluck" to his pa- 
tient, weary horses. Ever and anon the gazed 
dreamily at the river bank a short distance away. 
I followed his gaze and saw four fishing poles that 
were working overtime to provide the old man's 
supper. A conservation of energy, truly. 


Panama auD the Sierras 

On my last visit to the abridged mill, I en- 
deavored to engage the old man in conversation, in 
this wise : 

''Good morning, sir." 


"I said, good morning, sir." 

*'0h, yaas, of course. Good mawninV 

"It's a fine day." 


"I said, it's a fine day." 

"Oh, yaas." 

"I suppose you are an oldntimer liere, sir." 


"Why, I want to knov^ if you have (been here 

"Oh, 'bout five years." 

"Where are you from?" 


"I asked where you are from." 

"Who, me? Why, I'm from everywhere, 

"Are you getting any results?" 


"I asked if you are getting any color." 

"Oh, yaas." 

"I suppose the fishing is pretty good here." 


H Xtttle JBtown Jug 

"I said, I suppose the fishing is pretty good 

"Huh, huh." 

I gave it up as a bad jot). The old man was evi- 
dently as much e^^hausted as I was. Reaching 
down, he drew up a small jug that was swung to 
one of the arms of the raster by a strap. He held 
this out to me in a hospitably inviting fashion. I 
declined with thanks — and regrets. 

The old man put the jug to his lips — and I sus- 
pect he is still drinking. There was no referee to 
yell, ''break away," and as the outcome of the 
struggle between the old man and the enemy that 
steals away men's brains was self-evident, I 
vamoosed. The last I saw of him as I climbed the 
bank, was his bunch of weedy whiskers blowing 
about the jug, as his chin, elevated at an angle of 
45 degrees, bade defiance to prohibition. Was it 
fancy, or did I hear that mellow "gurgle, gurgle," 
so sweet to the ear of the thirsty pioneer, gently 
wafted adown the wind and blending with the rus- 
tle of the leaves of the China trees on the river 
bank ? Or was it, after all, only the music of the 
crystal waters of the Tuolumne as they rippled 
over the rocks ? Quieit sahe? 

if^ V' » 


©anama ant) tbe Sierras 

To the mind of the uninitiated, the old-time pio- 
neer is ibut a rough diamond at best. I wish it 
were possible for my pen to do justice to some 
of the Argonauts of '49 that I know. Kindly, sym- 
pathetic natures there are among them, and a re- 
finement that the roughness of the frontier, the 
ravages of time and the vicissitudes of pioneer life 
have but served to bring out in more marked con- 
trast with their rude surroundings. I have one in 
mind at the present moment whom it is a joy to 
know. "Old man Keith," his fellow townsmen 
call him. As "Grandpa Keith" he is best known 
to the children. Living all alone in his little cabin 
on the old Yosemite road, just where the 
Tuolumne bends on its way to that wonderful 
canyon, w^here began and ended the rainbows of 
my childhood, the dear old man peacefully dreams 
of the days when the valley was peopled with eager 
delvers after ready-made fortunes, patiently await- 
ing the summons to the land where, if his creed be 
right, he will again tread golden streets. Time has 
laid his hand but tenderly on the head of my old 
pioneer friend. The passing of the years has been 
as gentle as the falling of rain into a summer sea. 
There may be something more beautiful than the 
silver locks of Grandpa Keith, but I have not seen 
it. There may be sweeter and more lovable char- 
acters than he, but I have never met them. 

H Gentle pioneer 

As I write there comes to mind an incident that 
shows the gentle sweetness of the old man's nature. 
Calling at his ca'bin one bright morning, as was my 
wont, I met him at the door carrying a large pail 
of milk. My way lay up Kanaka Creek, and my 
old friend informed me that he was "going a piece 
up the creek" himself, and would "go along, if I 
didn't mind." Be sure I didn't mind, and we 
wended our way up the hills together. 

"You see," he remarked, apologetically, "I'm a 
little too old to be cHmbin' these hills, but I've got 
an errand to do. There's a family up yonder that 
takes milk of me — a quart every day — and the little 
boy that comes after it didn't show up this morn- 
in'. I'm 'fraid he's sick, an' the baby'U get sick, too, 
if he don't get his milk reg'lar, so I jes' thort I'd 
run up an' see what's happened, and take the milk 

I glanced at the pail, which apparently held sev- 
eral quarts, and remarked, "That must be a husky 
baby. Your quart measure runs pretty large, 
doesn't it?" 

"Well," he said, "I alius 'low to give the boy 
good measure. Wonder what's happened to the 
poor little kid, anyhow." 

And for two weary miles, over the hills, up and 
down, through stony gulches and over the rocky 
beds of half-dry streams, that gentlest of pioneers 


E^anama ant> tbe Sierras 

tramped by my side, vvitli a stride that showed no 
handicap of age or bad condition. The baby got 
his "full measure" that day, and, granting that I 
am a competent judge of character, that kind old 
man will also get full measure some day, if there 
are any good things to be had beyond The Great 

*^ ^ i^ 

It was with a sad heart that I said good-bye to 
my kind old friends of the Tuolumne Valley. The 
beautiful river, the pine-wooded sloipes and ver- 
dure-jbedecked mountains were my earliest memory 
of home, and, although many years had passed 
since I left those delightful scenes, a vision of home 
they still seemed. 

As I waited at the cross-roads for the stage tihat 
was to bear me away, perhaps never to return, I 
bethought me of my German friend at the 
Tuolumne canyon bridge, and felt that I could not 
leave without a farewell handshake, and a last 
glimpse of that wonderful gorge and its swift- 
running river. My friend of the roadhouse came 
with me to the bend of the road as the stage came 
in sight, and bade me "God-speed." Assuring him 


IRomance mnt)one 

that I hoped to return some day, I said, as I 
stepped aboard the stage ; "Well, good-bye, Hora- 
tius !" 

''Oxcuse me, vat yon mean?" he replied. "Who 
vas Horatius?" 

"Oh, I 'was jesting. Horatius was the fellow 
that kept the bridge. In ancient times, you know. 
You must remember the story of — 

'How well Horatius kept the bridge 
In the brave days of old.' " 

"No, sir, you vas make von mees-take. Dere 
vas no feller py der name of Horatius dot efer kept 
dot bridge. I vas peen here for four years, und 
pefore dot it vas Mofifitt." 

I looked back as the stage rolled away, and saw 
the old German standing in the middle of the road, 
disputatiously waving his stump of an arm and 
shaking his head in vigorous protest against my 
ignorance of the history of the toll bridge, 

*^ A^ *^ 

A fair start counts for Httle in a California stage 
ride. In less than half an hour after leaving Jack- 
sonville, the sky, which had been as fair as only the 
sky of that region can be, became overcast and 
shortly afterward it was "raining rain" in deadly 


Panama an& tbe Sierras 

earnest. By the time I iboarded the train at Chi- 
nese Camp it was pouring cataracts. The pros- 
pect of another slushy trip on the Sierra Railroad 
was not inviting. Although there were only about 
twelve miles between Chinese and my objective^ 
point, Sonora, I knew from experience that the 
way was long enough to permit of plenty of trou- 
ble. And my apprehensions were well-grounded. 
The train came to a standstill at a washout at '7^^ 
Town," four miles from its destination. Bedrag- 
gled and disconsolate, the passengers, among" 
whom were several women and children, were 
transferred from the cars to several old-fashioned 
four-horse stages, and, with a cracking of whips, 
we were off for Sonora. It was dark by this time, 
and, the curtains of the stage being buttoned 
closely to protect the passengers from the torrents 
of rain, the view of the scenery was not especially 
fine. The road was rough, and what with bump- 
ing into ruts and rocks and occasional logs, our 
lot was not a happy one. 

Whilst wondering whether we would arrive in 
Sonora without a spill, we were edified by an inci- 
dent which is of frequent occurrence on a Califor- 
nia stage route in the rainy season. The stage 
stopped suddenly, mixing the passengers up some- 
what promiscuously, and depositing a squalling 
infant in my lap! 


Ubat 6entle dreeft 

"She's pretty high, Bill," quoth the driver to a 
friend on the box. 

"Yep, but I reckon ye kin make it, old man,'' 
was the reply. 

Crack! went the whip. "Let her go!" howled 
the driver, and down went the stage into a rush- 
ing stream. The water began to flow into the 
stage and there was a lively scramble among the 
passengers to get their feet out of danger. There 
was a loud splash, and a yell from the driver, "By 
G — d, Tom, they've lost their feet! Ah, there's 
bottom again !" 

We finally reached the opposite bank, to the 
great relief of everybody. Shut in as we were, the 
experience was anything but pleasant. As soon as 
we were on terra firma once more and bumping 
along the awful road, which now seemed pleasant 
enough by contrast, I peered through the front 
curtain and said, "Excuse me, driver, but what 
river was that?" "River, h — 1!" he repHed, con- 
temptuously, "that's Woods' Creek." I was glad 
to meet with my old friend the creek again, but 
sorry to note the pernicious activity it had acquired 
since I left it at Jacksonville in the morning. Such 
is life on a California stage road in wet weather. 
I have on several occasions crossed an insignifi- 
cant little creek in the morning, and on returning 
toward nightfall, have found the water so high that 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

my horse was compelled to fairly swim across, and 
I was compelled to put my feet on the dashboard 
to keep them out of the water that filled the box of 
my buggy. To the uninitiated, this story may seem 
prepositerous, but it is commonplace enough to the 
people of the CaHfornia mountains. 

I remember on one occasion, seeing a couple of 
drummers misled by some imps of boys, who told 
them that a certain creek was fordable. The un- 
sophisticated greenhorns drove bravely into the 
stream and narrowly escaped drowning, whereat 
the boys howled in vociferous and malevolent glee. 
Two angrier, wetter and more sheepish men than 
those victims of their own ignorance and the boys' 
mischievousness were never seen. 

In passing, let me remark that life on the Cali- 
fornia stage roads in some other respects still has 
a little of the old-time flavor. Hold-ups are by no 
means rare. The very day before my experience 
on the Jim Town stage, a hold-up occurred on the 
Angels and Milton road. The afifair was well 
worth description. The night was very dark, and 
as it v^as raining the side curtains of the stage were 
drawn. Within the stage. Where they could not 
be seen, sat two ex;press messengers, one armed 
with that most effective weapon, a sawed-of? shot- 
gun loaded with buckshot, and the other with a 
Winchester rifle. The strong box was beneath the 


H 1Remlnt)et ot m^ Zimcs 

driver's seat. The stage had arrived at a lonely 
part of the road about two miles from Angels, 
when a voice called out, "Halt, there ! Throw up 
your hands !" Seeing two men with rifles aimed at 
him, the driver accommodatingly complied. 
"Throw out your box!" commanded one of the 

"All right, gentlemen, it's under the seat," re- 
plied the driver, stooping over and proceeding to 
fumble industriously with the coveted box, at the 
same time saying to the messengers in an under- 
tone, "Plug' em, boys, but don't hit me." 

"Hurry up there, and quit chewin' the rag, 
d — ^n you !" yelled Ithe spokesman of the robbers. 

"All right, I'll hurry, but it's d — d heavy," said 
the driver, crouching still lower to give his friends 
plenty of room for gun play. 

Having located their men, the messengers sud- 
denly rose from behind the seat and gave those 
luckless gentlemen of the road such a surprise 
party as they probably had never before experi- 
enced. One fell mortally wounded, whilst the 
Other, after firing several harmless shots at the 
messengers, escaped with a handful of buckshot in 
}iis anatomy, only to be afterward captured and 
brought to book. 

I was discussing this attempted robbery a few 
days later witb "Canada Joe," an interesting 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

Canuck who drives the stage from Milton to Cop- 
per, and he informed me that, while he had never 
been held up, he "wouldn't mind having it tried 
on him." His desire was gratified a few months 
later, and, somehow, the terrible things he pro- 
posed to do to the robber didn\ materialize. One 
lonely man held him up, and as the passengers 
did not have enough to satisfy the robber, he went 
it'hrough poor Joe a la mode and took everything 
he had, even to tlhe terrible "seex shooter. Mon- 
sieur le Docteur," with which he had promised to 
annihilate the first luckless highwayman who 
should chance to come his way. So bloodthirsty 
was 'he that my sympathies were all with the 
Knights of the Road until — ^well, until I had rea- 
son to sympathize with him. ''Seventeen dollair 
an' ze watch, by gar!" Poor old Joe! 

J^ J^ >^ 

Sonora is the most imiportant town in Tuolumne 
county. Its history is practically an epitome of 
the events of early mining days in California. Be- 
ginning with the advent of a party of Philadel- 
phians in the early summer of '48, the history of 
that section of the country is one unbroken record 
of the ups and downs, the hazards, successes and 



reverses of gold mining. The pick, pan and cradle 
have made way for the quartz mill, but a halo of 
romance still rests upon this beautiful region. 

The first explorers prospected on and about a 
stream that was aftervv^ard named Woods' creek, 
in honor of a clergyman in the party. A few 
months later a party of Mexicans located Sono- 
rian Camp. In 1849 a large number of Ameri- 
cans settled here and changed the name of the 
town to Sonora. 

How beautiful the country about Sonora was 
in the old days, the surviving early pioneers 
and a few of the s'ons of The Golden West alone 
know. It was one of the most picturesque re- 
gions in the world. The noble forests sheltered 
the red man anid the graceful deer. Sparkling, 
crystal streams gurgled merrily over the rocks 
or silently flowed through the soldierly rows of 
leafy oaks and stately pines. In tihe more tran- 
quil &pots o'f the streams gorgeous trout could 
h& seen darting aibout hither and thither, as if sur- 
charged with the very joy of living. Magnificent 
sequoias, the like of which can ibe found nowhere 
else on earth, towered in majestic grandeur toward 
the heavens. Deer, antelope, rabbits, squirrels and 
quail were abundant. Monarch of all he sur- 
veyed, amid this beauteous scene lumbered the 
clumsy bulk of the fierce grizzly bear. Ever and 


S. T. R. »• 


IPanama ant) tbe Sierras 

anon could be heard the weird shriek of the moun- 
tain Hon, as he called to his mate from his lair 
among the rocks. From time to time echoed the 
death cry of some helpless deer, the panther's vic- 
tim. Most fitting background for such a scene 
loomed up the cloud-capped Sierras, their peaks 
covered v^ith eternal snows, glistening in the sun 
like a veritalble diadem of pearls and silver. 

Half a century has rolled away, and much of 
the beauty of the scenery has been destroyed by 
the inroads of mining. The land has been dis- 
figured land the brooks and rivers defiled — ^or 
turned from their old-time courses — 'but the re- 
gion a'bout Sonora is still beautiful as an artist's 

Many ridh placers were found a;bout Sonora. 
How familiar the names of "Peppermint Gulch," 
"Sullivan's Creek," "Mountain Brow," and that 
historic spot where a long-eared quadruped fell 
down a shaft, "J-ackass Gulch." At the latter 
place a claim lOO feet square yielded $10,000 worth 
of gold. Near this claim was discovered la quartz 
vein that paid from $100 to $300 per day for 
years. The gold was pounded out of the quartz 
with a pestle and mortar. 

Apropos of this crude mode of extracting gold 
from quartz, I am reminded of a method of "soak- 
ing" the tenderfoot, not hitherto described. After 


Customs ot Sonortan Camp 

numerous specimens have been pounded in an 
iron mortar the pestle and inside of the mortar 
become coated with fine gold. The yellow metal 
is; so to speak, beaten into and incorporated with 
the iron. The tenderfoot secures his own speci- 
niens from the prospect hole he is considering", 
and the fellow who is after his money gives him 
an old moirtar and pestle in which to pound it 
up. He gets a wonderful color and fairly tumbles 
over himself to make an offer for the hole in 
the ground from whidh the ore was dug. As the 
tenderfoot has handled the ore himself there can 
be no suspicion of fraud, and when he finds the 
mine valueless he attributes his mistake to the 
existence of a small, accidental area of high-grade 
ore from v^hich he incorrectly estimated the value 
of the mine. 

There were much suffering and hardship in the 
months that immediately followed the opening of 
the Sonora placers. Supplies were inordinately 
high. Flour, hardtack, beans, coffee, saleratus 
and sugar were held at the uniform price of $3 
per pound. Pork was $8 per pound. The wise 
merchant soon made a fortune. He charged ex- 
orbitant prices for his goods and paid only $8 
an ounce in specie, or $16 in trade, for gold. 

Gambling was the one absorbing passion with 
all classes in the Tuolumne mines. Spanish monte, 


Panama an^ tbc Sierras 

faro, poker and roulette — all were in full blast. The 
miner made his money easily and let it go more 
easily. Rich on Saturday night, he was usually 
broke on Monday morning. Liquor was a dollar 
a drink, yet he managed to get drunk without much 

How little the miners appreciated their wealth 
in the golden days of Tuolumne is shown by their 
careless methods of exchange. A pinch of gold 
was called a dollar's worth; a teaspoonful was 
sixteen dollars; a wineglassful a hundred dollars 
and a tumblerful a thousand dollars. 

How strange was the spectacle of thousands of 
adventurous men, who had braved untold dangers 
to reach the land of promise, throwing away in 
reckless prodigality the gold they had come so 
far to seek. Miany of them became the possessors 
of unbounded wealth, only to die eventually in the 
utmost destitution and debasement. But not all 
have met this fate. A few struck it rich and kept 
the find. Another and more numerous class joined 
the ranks of the professional miners. The fever 
was chronically in their blood and miners they 
remained to the end of the chapter. They were 
of the immortals. Die their race cannot, for so 
long ,as the world shall last, will be found men 
as brave and adventurous as the Argonaut heroes 


Hn 3£nt)utino U^pe 

of my childhood. The passing of the years may 
dim their eyes and silver their hair, but their 
hearts will still remain as undaunted as those of 
the brave settlers of the Stanislaus and Tuolumne. 
On, and ever on, will they pursue The Golden 
Fleece. The snows of the Klondike have no ter- 
rors for them. The tropic sun beats on their de- 
voted heads in vain. The camp fire of the mining 
pioneer burns in every clime, and the echoes of his 
.sturdy pick-strokes resound through all the peaks 
and crags from Cape Horn to the Arctic Circle. 
All honor to the early Calif ornian and his pioneer 
successors. He will pursue the golden bubble un- 
til he falls into his last prospect hole, and is cov- 
,ered forever by that kindly Mother Earth who 
lures the miner on and on with her golden temp- 
tations, until at last she claims 'him for her own. 
. And let us not be too harsh in our judgment 
of the pioneer who has gone to the wall. He is 
ibut a bit of wreckage on the border sea, it is 
true, but he is a relic of an age of heroes. As 
the old song has it — 

*'Here I am, old Tom Moore, a relic of iormer 

.The people call me a bummer sure, 'but ^What care 

I for praise, 


IPanama ant) tbe Sierras 

For my heart is filled with 'the days of yore, and 

oft I do repine 
For the days of old and the land of gold — for the 

■days of '49." 

V^ ^ »- 

, Sonora has still many of the ear-marks of a bor- 
der town, but lit has arrived at the dignity of a 
metropolis, for it possesses a hotel that would 
grace a much more pretentious city. But I would 
have (been wiUing to dispense with a few com- 
forts could I have seen the Sonora of old. 

And yet the town had a certain fearsome quality 
in the old days. 'Twas there that my boyhood's 
friend, ''Three-Fingered Jack,'' got inextricably 
tangled up with a quantity of rope. I never could 
understand why lihe people of Sonora could not 
appreciate Jack's good qualities. He was one of 
the most popular men at Murphy's, in Calaveras 
county, the town to which my father emigrated 
after a succession of freshets in the lower country 
had practically ruined him. Jack was very good 
to me. To be sure, he used to inveigle me into 
shaking hands with him, during which formality 
he was in the habit of jabbing me in the palm with 
a little bony spur that projected from the stump 


/ID12 /fi^arti^tet) ^ftien^ 

of a 'thumib on his crippled hand, but then, he 
was wont to console me with glistening two-hit 
pieces and large sections of jujube paste, so I 
didn't mind his little pleasantries. 

Jack was for a long time supposed to be an 
honest miner. He worked many a day side by side 
with my sire. But the citizens of Tuolumne and 
Calaveras discovered that he was in the habit of 
"laying" for belated travelers and separating them 
from their valuables. One night a couple of tourists 
were held up and one of them chanced to get his 
throat cut. The survivor got a glimpse of the rob- 
ber's hands and noted the peculiar deformity of one 
of them. The rest was easy. It required no Sher- 
lock Holmes to find the murderer. And so my 
kind friend was taken to Sonora and duly stretched. 
His last request was that his photograph be taken 
and sent to my father. The boys forgot the pic- 
ture till after the stretching. They then fulfilled 
the promise they had m'ade and had Jack photo- 
graphed in his coffin. Ugh! It was a gruesome 
souvenir that cost me many a niglhtmare. Well, 
Three-Fingered Jack was a good fellow, all the 
same — in the daytime — ^and I never became quite 
reconciled to his loss. 

Both Bret Harte and M'ark Twiain were Tuo- 
lumne miners in the long ago. It was their resi- 
dence there that gave to the world much of their 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

remarkable character study. Notable characters 
were plentiful and it needed no literary license to 
enable one to present them graphically. Descrip- 
tion true to the life was the sole requirement. 
Bret Harte is one of my household literary gods, 
but, knowing his literary temperament, I do not 
wonder that he was inspired to write such won- 
derful tales and beautiful poems. His early en- 
vironment in Tuolumne should have inspired a 
pen far less able than his. 

A short distance from Sonora on the Jackson- 
ville road is Poverty Hill. Had the necessary- 
rhyme chanced to come handy, this town would 
be famous. Here lived '7^^/' the hero of Bret 
Harte's "Her Letter." It was here that Joe 
"struck color" in the heart of old Folinsbee's 
daughter, the "Lily of Poverty Flat." 

One can imagine her lamenting as she writes 
from Paris, where she has gone "to be finished," 
that her papa had ever struck "pay gravel." 

"But you know if you haven't got riches, 
And are poor, dearest Joe, and all that, 

That my heart's somewhere there in the ditches, 
And you've struck it, on Poverty Flat." 

The early court records of Sonora and the 
neighboring towns are something astounding. I 


Justice IRampant 

commend them to our Chicago justices of the 
peace. The pace was set by the first alcalde of 
Columibia, one SulHvan. Here are some of his 
judicial rulings : 

William Smith bad a Mexican, Juan Santa Anna, 
arrested for stealing a pair of leggings. The pris- 
oner was found guilty and fined three ounces. 
Smith was mulcted one ounce for making the com- 
plaint ! 

George Hildreth lost a pick. It was found m 
the store of a certain Frenchman. The French- 
man was fined one ounce and mulcted three ounces 
costs ! 

A party sued for the recovery of a mule. The 
ownership of the animal was proven and the thief 
fined one ounce and mulcted three ounces costs. 
The guilty party being broke and the accuser rich. 
Alcalde Sullivan made the latter pay both fine and 
costs, remarking, "This count can't be expected 
to sit for its health !" 

4^ J^ A^ 

While sitting in the office of the Victoria hotel 
in Sonora one evening, my attention was attracted 
to a picturesque-looking man of some sixty-five 
years of age, who seemed to be entertaining the 
loungers who were hanging about with stories of 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

huge proportions. Now and again some one 
would call out from the edge of the crowd, "Say, 
Jim, will you swear to that?" Whereat the enter- 
tainer would reply, "What's the matter with y'u, 
anyhow, ye d — d tenderfoot? Just because you 
hain't never seen nuthin', you've got a notion that 
nobody else haint. Say, do you fellows want to 
hear me out, or not?" 

Of course, everybody was anxious to have the 
old man go on with his yarns, and the captious 
questioner was promptly frowned down. 

It was not for me to dispute the veracity of the 
raconteur, so I hung upon the outskirts of the 
crowd, listening to his wonderful tales until long 
after midnight. 

"Who is the old man that is telling stories?" I 
asked the hotel clerk. 

"Why," he said, with some surprise, I thought, 
"That's Jim Gillis." 

And then I remembered. Jim Gillis is one of the 
characters who have made Tuolumne famous. 
Know ye all and sundry, that he is none other than 
"Truthful James," made immortal by Bret Harte. 
Likewise is he Mark Twain's "Jim Smiley," of 
"Jumping Frog" fame. 

"Why did Harte call him Truthful James?" I 

"Because," replied the clerk, "Jim cannot tell 


H Jfamous Gbaractet 

the truth. Which is where he differs from G. W. 
He's been drawing the long bow for years and 
years, and he'll draw it till he dies." 

"I'm not uip to small deceits, or any sinful games, 
I reside at Table Mountain and my name is Truth- 
ful James." 

Alas ! Why did you deceive us, Bret ? Jim Gillis 
does not live at Table Mountain, but in the classic 
precincts of "Jackass Hill." Which doth not make 
good rhyme. 

Likewise did the poet falsify when he said that 
Truthful was not up to sinful games, for the high- 
ways and byways of ye goodly game of poker 
— the 'Same are not muchly unknown to him. 

Old Jim wias especially good-natured when I 
saw him. He had just been down to Frisco, get- 
ting rid of his percentage of a pocket of $28,000 
that one of his lessees had struck while drifting 
on Jackass Hill. Most of his lessees think the 
name of the hill is by no means a misnomer, but 
there was evidently one lucky exception. And 
Jim had succeeded in getting freed from his easily 
acquired wealth very promptly. Said he : 

"Y'u see, boys, I'm like th' old Irishman who car- 
ried the hod for seventeen years an' saved up four 
hundred plunks. He went ter the races one day 
an' blew it all in on the bosses. A friend of his'n 


Panama auD tbe Stettas 

wuz sympa'thizin' with him, an' he says, says he, 
'Well, niver moind, Paddy, aisy come, aisy goes/ 
Which tihe same Irishman wuz a hod sport. Eh, 

And the boys lined up and helped the barkeeper 
tear away a few more of Jim's "come easy, go 
easy" dollars. 

Good luck to you, Jim, old boy. May your 
yarns never run out, nor the pockets in that won- 
derful 'hill ever fail you. And when you cross The 
Great Divide you needn't be ashamed of your 
"come easy, go easy" life. Ask some of the many 
"busted" miners and poor sick fellows that you 
have staked to say a word for you, and I'll chance 
you with the best of tlhem. 

4^ 4^ 4^ 

The weather clerk was evidently bound to revive 
all the humid, unpleasant memories for me that he 
could. There was a terrific rainstorm when I 
boarded the stage en route for Murphy's, my old 
home in the mountains. As the stage started at 
seven in the morning, and Angel's Camp, my first 
stopping place, would not be reached until noon,, 
there was a fair prospect of getting a taste of a 


Ube Golden IDalle^ 

freshet. But time was limited and I did not pro- 
pose to have my ardor dampened by even a CaU- 
fornia rainstorm. 

The road from Sonora to Angel's Camp via Co- 
lumbia has some of the most interesting relics of 
the early mining days that oan be found in any 
part of the state. Soon after leaving Sonora the 
way lies along a valley between the Sierras that 
was once one of the richest areas of mining ground 
in the world. From the very ground that lay 
beneath our wheels vast fortunes have been taken. 
Even to-day, hydraulic mining on a large scale is 
developing rich mines in locations on the hill- 
sides that the '49ers never dreamed of prospecting. 
The valley itself they worked over and over, and 
as usual, were followed by that patient grub, John 
Chinaman. The pioneers either forgot that the 
presence of gold in the valley betokened rich de- 
posits in the hills that inclosed it, or had no means 
of working them. Profitable quartz mining was, 
of course, for the most part out of the question, 
but the red, gravelly soil of the hillsides could 
have been easily worked hydraulically. Alas ! for 
the lack of water. 

The valley was once the bed of an ancient river 
that flowed among the Sierras untold ages ago. 
For an area at least a quarter of a mile wide, and 
extending for some miles along the stage road, 

Panama anO tbe Sierras 

the soil has been cut away to the last grain, ex- 
posing the old-time river bed in all its naked- 
ness. I say, ''all its nakedness" advisedly, for it 
is composed of volcanic rocks of the most fan- 
tastic shapes and varying sizes, most of them 
being huge volcanic forms that tower up like mon- 
uments, perfectly bare of earth. Every crevice 
between them, however narrow, has been washed 
out 'by the eager miners. 

Every rock shows the water erosion of the 
ancient river. It makes one dizzy to conjecture 
the age of these rocks, especially considering the 
fact that the old river bed is now nearly 2,000 feet 
above sea level. 

The general effect of the grotesque forms of vol- 
canic rock is so like a collection of enormous 
bones, that I dubbed the valley the ''Giant's Grave- 
yard," much to the edification of the stage driver. 

At one time, in early days, six thousand miners 
were working in this valley like so many bees. 
As a single claim was then only an area sixteen 
feet square, it is not surprising that occasional 
friction should have arisen. "Jumping a claim" 
was, however, a dangerous pastime in that locality. 
Every miner carried his CA\'n lawyer in his holster. 
The six-shooter and the bowie never postponed 
cases on legal technicalities. 


% JumpeD Claim 


But jumping did sometimes occur, nevertheless. 
I recall an instance in which my father and sev- 
eral of his partners, who had joined issues and 
consolidated their claims, had an unfortunate ex- 
perience with claim jumpers. "While walking over 
their property with Big Brown of Tuolumne, one 
day, my father's attention was attracted by a noise 
beneath his feet. He called Brown's attention to 
it, and remarked, ''Those EngHshmen on the next 
claim are drifting on our property, and if they've 
struck the main lode we're done for." Be it re- 
marked that my father's party had been drifting 
for some time and had not yet struck pay dirt in 
large quantity. A call was made upon the English- 
men, and on some pretext or other they were asked 
to re-stake their claim according to their under- 
standing of its boundaries. This having been done, 
my father and his partners proceeded to sink a 
shaft at 'the spot where the noise v^as heard. 
They verified their suspicions by coming down 
upon the interlopers' heads ! And then there was 
trouble. Knowing the peculiar customs of the 
mines in those days, and never having heard of 
any resulting international complications, I have 
drawn my own conclusions as to the outcome. 
But the denouement came too late. The main 
lode ran diagonally across my father's claim and 
had been pretty thoroughly worked out. Most 


K)anama auD tf3e Sierras 

of the gold had fceen shipped to the lower country, 
.so there was no chance of redress. However, I'll 
[wager that the heirs in England never got any of 
the gold. 

A short distance from the Sonora high road is 
ithe little town of Shaw's Flat. This was a famous 
fining center in former days. The glory of the 
town has not yet departed, for rich pockets are 
occasionally struck in its vicinity. Near its out- 
skirts is a hill, surmounted by an old Catholic 
church and burying ground. Some time since, an 
enterprising miner had a claim adjoining the 
churchyard that he had worked for some time 
.without great resuks. At last, however, he struck 
a lode from which he took out $80,000. But alas ! 
the lode was found in a corner of his claim from 
whence it ran into the graveyard. The miner 
tried to buy the church and the hill on which it 
3tands, *but in vain. The pious folk would not 
iallow their dead to be disturbed. How long those 
moldering bones will lie on beds oi gold none 
piay know, but that particular miner will have been 
gathered to his fathers long ere that sacred hill 
is desecrated by the restless seeker after wealth. 

It has oome to pasis that, while the homes 
of the dead are undisturlbed, those of the living 
are smitten by the mining vandal. The little town 
of Columbia rests upon a part of the ancient river 


H Stanislaus jpetri? 

bed. Its site is rich in gold, and its ^people are 
drifting from their own cellars and sinking shafts 
in their own :back yards. By no means profitless 
is this vandalism. Some few of the residents have 
grown rich thereby. Which recalls Bret Harte's 
story of Dow, the man who was digging a well 
in his own back lot and made a rich strike. 

"It was gold in the quartz 

And it ran all alike, 
And I reckon five oughts 

Was the worth of that strike. 
And that house with the coopilow*s his*nr- 

Which the same isn't bad for a Pike." 

J^ ^ ^ 

The Stanislaus is ever beautiful, and its entire 
course traverses a country of unsurpassed loveli- 
ness, but the scenery at Parrot's Ferry is the wild- 
,est and grandest on the river, though not so pic- 
turesque in some respects as at Byrne's Ferry. 
The river was quite high from the recent rains, and 
yiewed from the stage road, high up on the brow 
of a mountain, was a picture to be remembered. 
The gorge between the Sierras through which 
the Stanislaus has forced its way is a very narrow 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

one, and, at its full, the stream tears along at a 
terrific rate. No ordinary boat could live in it, 
and neither man nor horse could swim it. 

The ferry is a very ingenious contrivance. A 
huge wire cafble is stretched across the stream. 
.Upon this run large pulleys, to which the boat 
is attached in such a manner that the rushing 
water strikes its sides at an angle and propels 
it along the cable. On the return journey the 
angle is reversed and the current propels the boat 
back to its -starting point. I couldn't help won- 
dering What would happen if the cable should snap. 
I fancy the ensuing few moments would break all 
marine records — ^^and sundry necks. 

> J^ ^ 

Angel's Camp, or Angels, as it is now known, 
was once so lively that its name was quite satiric. 
It is now dead enough to almost merit its appel- 
lation. The mining renaissance, represented by 
the modern quartz mine, has given it something 
of a boom of late years, but 'tis not the Angels 
of aforetime. The "boys" say that if they can 
"keep the d — d railroad out," they still have hopes 
that the old town may amount to something. 
Next to "hoping," the most popular industry would 



appear to be the breeding and fighting of game 
cocks. There is hardly a house that does not 
have a few coopfuls of these birds. All of which 
augurs badly for the thrift of the place. The 
birds represent just so much energy devoted to 
killing time, and are too suggestive of old Mexico 
to portend business activity. 

The people of Angels live principally upon the 
traditions of the past, when gold was plenty and 
the crack of the six-shooter music to the ear. 
Who does not remember Bret Harte's "Thomp^ 
son of Angels?" 

**Yet in. the hamlet of Angels, -when truculent 

speeches are uttered. 
When bloodshed and life alone will atone for some 

trifling mis-statement, 
'Maidens and men in their prime recall the last 

hero of Angels. 
Think of and vainly regret the Bald-headed Snipe 

of the valley.'' 

•Angels bored me, and despite the torrents of 
rain I proposed to get out of the place as quickly 
as I could. There was no stage that day, and 
I was informed that there might not be any the 
following day on account of the high water in the 
creeks. But I had had quite enough of the town 


Panama anD tbe Stettas 

and w,as bound to quit it. I called a liveryman 
in consultation and he said, "Well, I reckon you 
kin git through with a buggy if ye keep away from 
the big creek an' go across the little creek on 
t'other road." He deputized his son, a lad of about 
fifteen, to drive me, and off we started in the storm. 
"Little creek," eh ? Great Niagara ! What an ex- 
perience ! Hardly had we started across the stream 
when the water filled the box of the buggy and 
was well up the horse's sides. My young driver 
tried to back out, but only succeeded in tipping 
the buggy almost over. I grabbed the reins and 
whip, gave the horse a sharp cut and proceeded 
to make the best of the situation. As I couldn't 
back up, I put both feet on the dashboard out of 
the way of the water and made a dash for the 
opposite bank. Whereupon my horse proceeded 
to float down stream. He finally regained his 
feet, however, and we managed to get out of that 
creek, but my hair is still inclined to rise when- 
ever it rains hard. What with the rain, the scare 
and the bumping over the roads, I was soon the 
worst apology for a convalescent in search of re- 
cuperation that ever struck the state of California. 

4^ > 4^ 


Ibtstoric /IDurpbp's 

Once again I arrived in one of the haunts oi 
my childhood, with what could hardly have been 
styled eclat. I had often pictured to myself a 
sort of triumphal entry into Murphy's after many 
years of absence, and the bedraggled, weary and 
sore condition in which I found myself was quite 
dispiriting. I waited for the morrow and clear 
weather before looking uip my friends of other and 
happier days. I then found many friends and re- 
newed many pleasant associations. 

Time had not dealt gently with the few pioneers 
who still remained at Murphy's. But my welcome 
was none the less cordial. One dear old man, 
crippled with rheumatism and bent with the weight 
of over threescore years, mostly years of the "lean 
kine," tramped five miles over the hills to greet 
the man w'hom, as a child, he had once dandled 
upon his rugged knee. The milk of human kind- 
ness is not all gone from this hard old world, but 
it is chiefly in such communities as Murphy's that 
we find it. 

Murphy's Camp is a town well known to fame. 
Situated in a beautiful valley among the Sierras, 
within fifteen miles of the celebrated Calaveras 
Grove of Big Trees, it has long been the object- 
ive point of the tourist en route to the natural 
wonders higher up in the mountains. At, and 


IPahaiit^ anb the Sierras 

prior to, the time I resided there, thirty years ago, 
Murphy's was a justly celebrated and flourishing 
mining camp. A desire for improvements in min- 
ing methods ruined the town. A great power -com- 
pany was formed to hring water down from the 
mountains for mining purposes. This water was 
to be leased to miners at high rates and a large 
profit was guaranteed. The water company's 
stock was subscribed for by nearly everybody ih 
Calaveras county. All the miners' savings weht 
into the venture. Unfortunately the engineers 
had not figured on both ends of the line. They 
got the water in all right, but there was no way 
to get it out, after it had been used in the mines, 
and Calaveras was ruined. The money Of Calav- 
eras had all gone "up the flume." The great flume 
stands to-day, the gravestone of Murphy's pros- 

The town never recovered its former prestige. 
It looks like a beautiful, thriving place to-day, 
when seen from the hills, but it is absolutely dead. 
How its inhabitants eke out a livelihood is a mat- 
ter for speculation, for the farming thereabouts is 
almost m7, and the Big Trees are not so popular 
as they once were. 

An element of pathos is added to the poverty 
of this once flourishing mining tov/n by the fact 


U 2)eaD Zovon 

that it is situated amid an abundance of gold. 
The hills are still rich, and there is Uttle doubt 
in my mind as to the existence of a vast quantity 
of the precious metal in the ground upon which 
the town is built. I am of opinion that beneath 
the valley lies a continuation of the same ancient 
river bed that traverses the country adjacent to 
Columbia. The valley, however, has never been 
prospected. The founders of Murphy's were 
miners, it is true, but there were home-builders 
among them who by mutual agreement decided 
to hold the town site sacred. The pick has never 
desecrated their home sites. One of these days 
a gigantic company will be formed that will buy 
up the entire valley, introduce a practical water 
power and develop the vast auriferous wealth of 
this poverty-stricken place. Meanwhile its inhab- 
itants will subsist as best they can. The future 
of Murphy's matters little to those of the Argo- 
nauts who still live. They are fast joining the 
silent majority in God's Acre on the hill. Only 
a few remain, and the good-bye that I said to them 
on leaving that town of ghosts and traditions was 
by no means conventional. It was fraught with 
sad meaning. 

It is strange that the Big Tree Grove of Calav- 
eras has lost its interest for tourists. The num- 
ber of travelers passing through Murphy's en route 


Panama anb tbe Sierras 

for the trees has ^rown ismaller year by year. 
Rival attractions are to a certain degree respon- 
sible for this, but the weary ride by stage has had 
most to do with it. Time was when this was not 
so objectionable as now. Other natural wonders 
were equally inaccessible. The onward march of 
railway enterprise has, however, benefited most 
other wonders, and people in search of novelties 
in recreation have come to abhor fatiguing jour- 
neys. What the ultimate fate of the Big Trees 
will be is conjectural. The grove has recently 
been bought by a lumber merchant, who is hold- 
ing it with the view of selling it to the United 
States government for a national park. Failing 
in this, he proposes to cut down the trees and 
convert them into lumber. Will this crime be per- 
mitted ? I think it will. The temper of the Ameri- 
can people permits such things. A people that per- 
mits the Palisades of the Hudson to be disfig- 
ured with patent medicine advertisements will not 
be likely to interfere to save the Big Tree Grove — 
one of the wonders lof the world. Whatever the 
fate of those giant sequoias, I shall always feel 
better for having seen them. It is something to 
have stood beneath the shade of the growth of 
thousands of years and to have felt one's self a 
pigmy beside those wonderful specimens of Nat- 
ure's handiwork. And when I stood upon that won- 


TTtaGcMes IRecalle^ 

derful stump of the original ''Big Tree," which had 
been cut down for timber, and gazed upon that 
other giant shaft denuded of its bark to supply the 
East with souvenirs, I could not ^but despise the 
sordidness and vandalism of modern civilization. 

i^ *- 4^ 

The sight of the old flume reminded me of a se- 
ries of tragedies that I witnessed in Murphy's 
many years ago. 

The old schoolhouse stands on the brow of a 
hill of some size a Httle way out of town. Some 
rods away is a flat upon which the Indians, who 
were once plentiful in that region, used to con- 
gregate. One morning, in full view of the school 
children, an Indian and a half-breed companion 
repaired to this flat with a bottle of whisky and, 
having become gloriously drunk, proceeded to 
fig'ht for possession of the bottle. The half-breed 
was getting worsted when he pulled a knife and 
stabbed his red brother in the abdomen. As the 
brass-pointed scabbard adhered to the knife, the 
murderer drove scabbard and all into his victim. 
The excitement sobered the half-breed and he fled 
to the hills. 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

The wounded Indian was picked up by his 
brethren and taken to the woods back of the 
school-house, where he was laid upon a blanket 
and a funeral pyre of wood built beside him. The 
Indians then gathered about the dying man, who 
stoically watched the preparations for his crema- 
tion, and waited for him to die. We school-boys 
visited the scene and were highly entertained by 
the weird chants and grotesque ceremonies of the 
red-men. The wounded man finally died and was 
cremated. This custom of cremation among the 
Indians of the Pacific coast is not genera^lly 
known. Hutchings, I believe, has also called at- 
tention to it in his wonderful book, "The Heart 
of the Sierras." 

The sheriff of Calaveras came to Murphy's that 
day to investigate the murder of the Indian and 
capture the perpetrator. Some of the boys had 
meanwhile located the half-breed in his retreat 
among the hills. The sheriff was glibly informed 
that the murderer had been seen in the vicinity 
of Vallecito, and posted off in hot haste in that 
direction. He was hardly out of sight, before the 
boys rounded up the half-breed, tied a rope around 
liis neck after a sharp fight, and dragged him down 
to the point where the f!'ume crosses the Vallecito 
road. Tying a stone to the other end of the 


H IRecfitte iparti^ 

rope they threw it over the flume, gave a long 
pull and a strong pull and — the curtain dropped 
forever on the murderer ! The avengers ( ?) and 
the audience then quietly dispersed, leaving their 
victim hanging to the flume and swaying in the 
wind. '7^st so the sheriff kin find him easy," 
they said. 

And the sheriff found him without much trouble. 
When he expostulated the boys said, "Well, we 
told ye ye'd find him on the Vallecito road, didn't 
we? An' ye found him there all right, didn't ye?" 
The which, was unanswerable. 

^ *- ^ 

The summary visitation of punishment upon 
California criminals in the old days is not without 
parallel in modern times. The subject is a grue- 
some one, but I nevertheless venture to reproduce 
a photograph of an incident that happened only 
a few years ago. 

The scene depicted is a flashlight view in front 
of the county courthouse, Yreka, Siskiyou county, 
California, shortly after midnight of September 26, 

It represents the work of a Vigilance Commit- 
tee which was hastily formed in Yreka to dis- 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

pense justice to one Johnson, a big, burly black- 
smith. Johnson suspected the fidelity of his wife, 
a small, delicate woman, and completely disem- 
boweled iher with a knife. This happened near 
Sawyer's Bar, a mining camp about fifteen miles 
by stage from Yreka. The murderer was arrested 
and taken to Yreka for trial, with the result shown 
in the photograph. 

At the time Johnson was elevated there hap- 
pened to be three other men in the county jail 
charged with murder, and the committee, being 
practical economists of energy, tfhought it well to 
make a clean sweep. 

Moreno, a Mexican tramp, and Stemler, a young 
fellow nineteen years of age, were in jiail for kill- 
ing a man on the railroad near Yreka. After 
the hanging the Mexican government demanded 
and secured an indemnity for the death of Moreno. 
It was generally thought that Stemler was not a 
party to the murder, but merely happened to be 
with the Mexican when the crime was committed. 
The Avork of the Vigilance Committee was there- 
fore questioned by some of the prominent men 
in Yreka. These gentlemen afterward found notes 
under their doors advising them to do less talk- 
ing — which admonition they obeyed. The com- 
mittee subsequently claimed that it had been very 


/IDan's IFnbumantti^ to /IDan 

merciful to Stemler in breaking his neck, which 
was done by a couple of the hanging party jump- 
ing up and hanging their weight upon him. 

Null killed his mining partner, with whom he dis- 
agreed as to the sale of some property which they 
were operating. The murdered man wished to 
sell his interest and had accompanied a prospec- 
tive purchaser to view the property. Null became 
enraged and emptied the contents of a Winches- 
ter into ihis partner. 

I commend the picture of the foregoing event 
to the advocates of capital punishment — legal or 
illegal. It may not be an object lesson to pros- 
pective criminals, for I hope my circle of readers 
will not comprise any such, but as an illustration 
of the savagery of man to his fellow man it is 
superior to anything within my knowledge, save 
several legal executions I have witnessed.* 

4^ *- A^ 

*There is a suggestion of humor in the fact that the 
photographer who took the picture of the Yreka "necktie 
party " held the office of justice of the peace in that enter- 
prising town. This gives a flavor of "legality" to the 
picture, however irregular the entertainment may have 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

Second only to the Big Tree Grove of Calaveras 
in interest is its recently discovered cave. This 
is one of the most wonderful natural curiosities 
of California, and alone is worth a journey to 
Murphy's. I should like to state how far it is 
from Ijhe town, but I cannot. The road leading 
to it is a circuitous and mountainous one, said 
to be a mile and a half long. The road back to 
town seemed to cover about half a mile. I was 
a little puzzled to understand this disparity in 
distances, when I happened to think of the high 
livery rates that prevail in that unsophisticated 
place. Were the sign reading "To the Cave" 
placed upon the short cut, most tourists would 
walk. Having induced them to ride, the proprie- 
tor of the cave caps the livery man's game by giv- 
ing them the worth of their money. 

On meeting the proprietor of the cave, one is 
inclined to wonder how such an unenterprising 
individual ever came to discover it. I have suc- 
ceeded in elucidating the problem. He was resting 
at the time. While pursuing this, his favorite occu- 
pation, he chanced to recline against a huge boul- 
der. Noticing a strong current of air blowing 
upon him, he proceeded to investigate, and found 
that the air was issuing from a fissure in the face of 


H Kllon^ertuX Cave 

the rock. Further exploration discovered the 
cave, which extends over one hundred and fifty 
feet underground. 

The various cham'bers of this cave present some 
of the most beautiful and varied stalactitic 
and stalagmitic forms that can be found in Amer- 
ica. In some places the roof and walls present 
the exact appearance of a coral bed. Here and 
there this coral-like formation closely imitates 
beds of beautiful flowers. The "Pansy Bed" is 
estpecially sug'gestive of the flower after which it 
IS named. 

At the Entrance of the passage-way between two 
of the chamt)ers hangs the "Goose." Had the 
-Hmestone of which it is formed been actually de- 
posited upon the bird whose form it has assumed, 
the similarity could not be much more striking. 

The most remarkable formation is the "Angel's 
Wings," two broad, thin, sheet-like stalactites 
hanging from the wall of one of the lower cham- 
bers. The nomenclature of these formations is 
not inappropriate, for their appearance is quite 
like that of the pinions of picture-book angels. 
The wings are variegated by bands of different 
shades of pink and brown, extending from top to 

Still another remarkable form is the "Miner's 
Blanket." The resemblance of this phenomenon 

Panama an^ tbc Sierras 

to a blanket is very striking. The resemblance is 
emphasized by several broad, brownish-pink 
bands at the lower extremity or border of the 

A series of stalactites known as the "Chimes" 
would deHght a xylophone soloist, so soft and 
sweet are the sounds produced by gently striking 

In ancient times the cave was probably used as 
a burial place by the Indians. A large number 
of crumbling human bones that were found here 
are shown the visitor. And human bones are not 
all; the scapula of a giant sloth, somewhat en- 
crusted with lime deposit, it is true, but none the 
less readily recognizable, is one of the features 
of the cave. The great length of time necessary 
for the formation of the larger stalactites is shown 
by the fact that the relic of the giant sloth has 
but a thin layer of mineral deposit upon it. 

The cave has not yet been thoroughly explored. 
There are probably other marvels in store for the 
tourist. The electric light will one day penetrate 
this lonely place. Its wonders will then be well 
worth going many miles to see — always providing 
the beauty of the cave has not meanwhile been 
dimmed by the smoky lamps with which the shift- 
less proprietor now lights the tourist's "clamber- 
some" way. The wave of progress has already 


Calaveras Onnncv^ 

struck the cave. A bar-room is being built at its 
mouth. Future tourists who patronize the bar will 
see a multiplicity of beautiful chambers — and some 
other things—in the cave. They will then go home 
and tell fearsome stories of the terrible cave snakes 
of Calaveras. 

In studying the proprietor of the cave I arrived 
at the conclusion that the original cave men were 
not hairy, but woolly. The modern one is woolly, 
at any rate, and I judge he must be a direct 
descendant of those of ancient times. I could smell 
the "times" upon the particular cave man under 
consideration, quite distinctly, and high old times 
they must have been, if their "aged in the wood" 
flavor is to be taken in evidence. 

Ai^ 4^ ii 

When Murphy's was in its prime the main street 
of the town presented a very lively scene, espe- 
cially after nightfall, when the miners, having fin- 
ished their arduous labors, came into town to seek 
excitement. Gambling was rife. There may be 
towns where card playing is more popular, but 
in order to transcend the Murphy's of former days 
it would be necessary to suspend all other occu- 
pations but gambling. Every store was essen- 


Panama anb the Stettas 

tially a gambling bouse. There was no store so 
humble that it did not possess at least a table or 
two. The doors were kept wide open and the 
players were in full view of the passers-by. Things 
went smoothly enough, as a rule, but when a 
row did start there was serious trouble. The early 
CaHfornian was peculiar. He had a faculty of 
mixing in other people's quarrels that was by no 
means commendable. With him a saloon or gam- 
bling house row was everybody's row, so he usu- 
ally "chipped in." Everything would be lovely 
in a gambling house when suddenly a shot would 
resound through the room. On the instant, the 
barkeeper would put out the lights, while eveiry- 
body who had a gun drew and fired at the near- 
est man! 

I recall a very funny incident in this connection. 
A row started in the Fremont saloon, and quite 
a stiff row it was, too. A fellow was sauntering 
leisurely dawn the street whistling. He heard the 
rumpus, ran across the street to his house, got 
a shotgun and returning stepped to the door of 
the place where the fight was going on. Point- 
ing his gun at the struggling mass of -men he 
discharged both barrels, one after the other. His 
conscience being thus relieved, the man shouldered 
his gun, resumed his whistling and marched off 
in the serene consciousness of duty well performed. 


IBarlp Hmusements 

The shooting done in one of these free-for-all 
fig*hts, it was the fashion to count noses and see 
who was hit. Such was the ethics of Calaveras 

The street was occasionally enlivened by im- 
promptu daylight affairs that were quite charac- 
teristic. A type of these entertainments was that 
afforded by one "Mexican Pete," a Greaser gen- 
tleman who was wont to load up with agimrdiente 
and make things lively for the Murphyites. The 
towns^pe'ople had abided him with patience so long 
that he felt privileged, as the boys afterward said^ 
"ter play the limit." One afternoon he was fuller 
than usual, if that were possible, and proceeded to 
"paint the town" in lurid colors. One coat of 
paint exhausted his resources. Mounting his 
mustang, with a six-shooter in each hand, he. 
started at a terrific pace down the street. Into 
stores he rode, upsetting everything and every- 
body that stood in his way, then out again, shoot- 
ing at everybody in sight. 

Now, the people of Murphy's were not easily 
nonplused, but on this occasion they were so sur- 
prised that the Greaser had it all his own way for a 
time. He finally reached the end of the street, 
and had he been wise would have continued on 
and left the town. But the game seemed so easy 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

that he wanted more of it. Back he came up the 
street, shooting right and left and whooping Hke 
a Sioux. Meanwhile, the citizens had recovered 
from their surprise and were lined up along the 
way to receive him. 

The immortal six hundred may have gone 
against a hotter fusilade than did that luckless 
Greaser, but I doulDt it. Before he had covered a 
hundred yards the reception committee opened up 
on him. ''Doc." Jones, who was coroner at the 
time, brought in a verdict of "suicide while suffer- 
ing from emotional insanity." Incidentally he de- 
livered a homily on the evils of drinking bad liquor. 

y 4^ 4^ 

The "pride of the hamlet" were gathered in 
the bar-room at Murphy's one evening, kilHng time 
as best they could. In the center of a group of 
typic young mountaineers sat my old friend, Bill 
Loveless, who drove stage in Nevada, and in 
and out of Murphy's, from '49 to '90. "Col. Bill," 
as the townspeople called him, is one of the most 
vivid recollections of my old home in the Sierras. 
The chief gala occasions of the old days were 
the arrival and departure of the stage. The crack 
of Bill's whip and the ringing whoop tlhat an- 


H IReltc of tbe IRoaD 

nounced his coming with the mail and a loiad of 
strangers from the lower country were music to 
my boyish ears. Bill was a hero in those days, 
nothing less. Many a time did he let me strap 
bis ihuge six-shooter around my waist, permitting 
me to revel in the anticipation of the wonderful 
tihings I was going to do when I should he a man 
and drive a stage. And the rides he used to give 
me I I would lie in wait for the stage at the out- 
skirts of the town and order old Bill to throw up 
his hands, whereat he would surrender promptly 
and allow the small bandit to board the stage ,and 
ride triumphantly with his prisoners to the door 
of the hotel. The old man had long since laid 
aside his v^hip forever, but he was still one 
of the most respected citizens of Murphy's. 

I entered the bar-room just as the old Colonel 
was in the midst of one of his stories of early days, 
.which the younger men never tired of hearing. 
When the story was finished there was the usual 
lining up at the bar, where some "took sugar in 
theirs," whilst others "said to the barkeeper, 
lightly, 'Y'u kin give us our regular fusel.' " The 
poison having been concealed in their anatomies, 
the party again gathered about the table and ex- 
pectantly awaited another story from the old vet- 
eran. He began in this wise : 


Panama anO tbe Sierras 

*'D' ye knoiw, 1)075, things hev changed so that 
life aint wuth Hvin' no more. Look at stage 
drivin', for instance. There wuz a time when we 
boys used ter git two hundred an' fifty cold plunks 
a month. Now jest look at it. The game aint 
wuth playin.' They begrudge a man his keep, ter 
say nothin' o' wages. The d — d railroads is killin' 
all sorts o' business, an' speshully stagin'. We 
jest orter to git out with shotguns an' drive the 
railroads ofif'n the earth." 

To my astonishment, the feeling among the 
party was that railroads were the invention of the 
devil and had ruined every mining town they had 
entered. Said one young man from Angels : "The 
Sierra railroad has got to Columbia, but you can 
just bet they'll never get it through Angels. 
We won't stand for it, and God help the first feller 
that tries to lay a rail anywhere near our town." 

It seems that the teaming business is a very 
profitable one for a mining town, and this par- 
ticular enterprise is usually killed by the intro- 
duction of a railroad. On subsequent inquiry I 
found that the consensus of opinion in the mining 
towns that I visited is unfavorable to railroads. 

"By the way. Colonel Bill," inquired one of 
the party, "did you ever get held up when you 
wuz drivin' stage?" 


CoL Biirs Bxpetiences 

'Well, I should say I did git held up. There's 
a feller settin' there that's held me up lots o' times. 
Eh, Doc?" I plead guilty, and the old man con- 
tinued : 

''But speakin' o' the real article, I've been held 
up fourteen times." 

"Well," I remarked, "I should think such an 
experience would be likely to produce nervous 

The old man grinned and replied : 'Oh, no, Doc. ; 
it aint so bad as that. Of course, it does shake a 
feller up some the first few times he bumps inter 
road agents. But ye git kind o' used to it arter 
a while. I got so I didn't mind 'em any more'n 
so many monkeys. Road agents got ter ibe jest 
like the changes o' weather — nat'ral conditions 

"But," exclaimed one of the younger men, 
eagerly, "you surely showed fight, didn't you, 
Colonel Bill?" 

"Wall, no, not exactly; that is, not always," 
replied the old man. "A green feller mout show 
fight a time er two, but twuz a bad habit ter git 
inter. Ye see, the cusses most alius got the drop 
on a feller. They knowed we wuz a comin', an' 'had 
their little surprise party all ready. We didn't 
know they wuz after us until the guns wuz lookin' 
our way, an' then 'twas a leetle too late. Besides, 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

the road agents wuz strangers to us drivers, an* 
t'wuz a leetle dangerous ter be familiar with stran- 
gers in them days. I had a few scraps when I 
fust begun drivin', an' mout have kep' on a-fightin', 
only I got inter one scrap that cured me." 

"How was that, Colonel?" asked someone in the 

"Let me see, said the old veteran, 'twas in '54, 
I believe, that I wuz drivin' on the Sonora and 
Murphy's road. I had a big lot o' gold aboard 
one night that wuz bein' sent down ter Frisco 
by Wells-Fiargo. There wuz a couple of express 
messengers along, an' nervy boys they wuz, too. 
They liked ter fight same as if they wuzn't hired 
ter do it. We got along all right till we got a 
little past Columbia, an' wuz allowin' we'd make 
Sonora all right. All of a sudden a tough-lookin' 
feller steps from behind some rocks, covers me with 
a shotgun an' yells, 'Hands up, there !' At the same 
time four other fellers shows up an' covers the 
passengers an' messengers — an' covers 'em good 
an' plenty. Quicker'n a wink one on 'em shoots 
the nigh lead hoss, an'. down he tumlbled deader'n 
a nit. That settled my chances o' runnin' away, 
as I used ter do when I got the chance. Don't 
spose 'twould have made any difference, nohow, 
for them messengers opened the ball 'fore you 
could say Jack Roberson. Of course, I jined in. 


H triple t)olt)««up 

The way the guns cracked and the bullets flew 
wuz a caution. But we druv 'em off, an' then took 
tally o' noses ter see who wuz hit. We fetched 
three of the road agents. 0<ne wuz deader'n a 
smelt, an' one died in less'n an hour. The other 
feller — 'well, he wuz the star actor in a necktie 
party that night. One messenger wuz hit so bad 
he never got over it — through his bellows, ye 
know. I got a bullet through my hat, an' a d — d 
good hat it wuz, too. Another shot went through 
the boot o' the stage, right between my legs. 
Which wuz what cured yer Uncle Bill o' mixin' 
up in other people's business." 

But Colonel Bill forgot to mention that the epi- 
sode above described did not permanently cure 
him of gun fighting in general. The records of 
Calaveras county show that, even if he was cured 
on that occasion, he suffered frequent relapses. 

"Speakin' o' hold ups," continued the old 
Colonel, "reminds me of a circus I had once when 
I wuz drivin' fer the Stevens' Company, over in 
Reno. I had the day run from Reno to Carson, 
and a dandy run sihe wuz, too. 'Twuz one day 
in June, '65, if I remem'ber c'reckly, that we started 
fer Carson, three stages strong. 

''Jest 'fore we started, Dick Smithson, my side 
pardner, who wuz drivin' the stage jest behind 
me, calls out, 'Say, Bill, did yer count noses? 


Panama and tbe Sierras 

We've got thirteen passengers to each stage !* 
Sure enough, Dick wuz right. And I says to him, 
'Three times thirteen is a good enough hand, Dick. 
Anyhow, we've got 'ter play it.' 

'''A good hand, eh?' says Dick. 'D'ye know 
what day o' the month this is ? It's the thirteenth, 
sure as shootin/' 

" 'Well,' says I, 'don't ye care, Dick ; it aint 
Friday, anyhow, so the cards aint all stacked agin 
us. An' say. Mister Dick, there's luck in odd 
numbers.' Which is where Dick had the laugh 
on me arterwards, tho' 'twuz mostly hoss an' hoss. 

"There wuz more'n $40,000 in the strong box 
under my seat, an' Wells-Fargo expected me ter 
take keer of it. There wuzn't any messengers — ■ 
because the boodle wuzn't big enough an' there 
wuz three stages travelin' close together, I reckon. 
The passengers wuz mostly stag, but there wuz 
two or three women folks in each st^age. 

"Now, boys, though I didn't have no super- 
stition in my system, I'll own up that I felt a 
little queer when my pardner made his little spiel 
about the thirteens. But, as I said afore, I bluffed 
it out. 

"Well, everything wuz lovely an' the goose hung 
high till we got to a turn in the road, not a great 
ways from Carson, that wuz called 'Robber's 
Bend,' 'count o' the hold-ups that come off there 


B Uborougb dlean^up 

so often. I wuz jest a thinkin' that If we got 
around the bend safe we'd land in Carson all rigiht, 
sure pop, when I heard th' old familiar 'howdy do' 
of the road agents: 'Hands up, gentlemen!' an* 
there stood half a dozen fellers with black masks 
on, coverin' our p-arty with rifles and shotguns. 
One feller got his gun a leetle too near my nose 
an' I could pretty nigh see the load in it. It looked 
like some o' them railroad tunnels. I could al- 
most hear the train a comin'. Ugh ! I aint usually 
narvous, but I jest had ter ask the feller t' ease 
off a bit. 'All right, Bill,' says he. Seein' that 
I wuz among friends, I watched the subsequent 
proceedin's with some int'rest. 

*'The fust thing them agents did wuz to line 
up all the men in a row 'long side o' the road, 
with their hands behind their backs an' a couple 
o' fellers standin' behind 'em with shotguns, 
watchin' 'em like hawks. One o' the others kep' 
me covered, while the rest o' the gang 'scorted 
the women folks to an old redwood log an' asked 
'em, very perlite like, ter set down an' watch the 
shov/. Then they come back, blew open my strong 
box an' took out the gold an' spilled it inter a sad- 
dle blanket they'd spread out on the ground. Then 
they begun to go through the men folks, an' of 
all the funny sights y'u ever seen, that ragged 
the bush. The agents didn't leave nothin' on 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

them tenderfeet. Watches, rings, di'mond studs, 
gold specs, greenbacks, specie, everything followed 
the gold that come out o' the box, inter the 
blanket. My, but it did make a purty pile o' stuff 1 
You never seen nothin' like it. An' guns ! Gee 
whillikens, boys, you'd orter seen the guns them 
passengers wuz packin' 'round! Shiny little pop- 
pers *bout as long as yer finger, most on 'em wuz j 
the kind that shoots them little homepathicker 
pills that jest sorter riles ye up 'thout gitting any 
action on 'em. Every time one o' the agents 'd 
come across one o' them guns he'd 'haw haw' right 
out an' say, ' 'Scuse me fer takin' yer pop, mister, 
but I want it fer the kids ter play with. 'Sides, yer 
mout hurt yerself with it.' One agent said he 
wanted a breastpin for his wife an' he guessed that 
little 32 would be jest about the thing. 

''The women folks wuz plumib skeered ter death 
at fust, but arter a while the skeer sort o' wore 
off an' they began ter enjoy therselves. Every 
time one o' the passengers would give up his roll 
the girls 'd all devil him mos' ter death. 'Shell 
out, Charlie !' says one v/oman to her husband. 
'How about my new dress? Thought yer wuz 
broke, old boy!' 'Be keerful o' that pretty little 
gun,' says another one. 'Don't rub the shine off'n 
it. It belongs to my little Willie at home. 


partners in /iDtserig 

"By the time th' agents got through with their 
clean out, we heard tother stage comin'. The fel- 
ler who wuz guardin' yer Uncle Bill, says, very per- 
litely, 'Now, William, my boy, don't make a noise 
an' scare yer pardner ofif, 'cause yer mout scare 
me, an' if I got narvous this old gun mout go off/ 
Don't ye ever think I peeped — I knew better, an' 
besides, I wanted Dick ter get a leetle o' the joke. 

"Well, the gang laid fer Dick's stage an' gave it 
the same deal that we got. When the last stage 
came along it got the same dose. By the time th* 
agents got through, they had a good-sized com- 
p'ny o' prisoners, an' th' old log full o' women 
looked like a sewin' circle. The gang finally div- 
vied up their plunder, straddled their bosses an' 
got clean away. The hull outfit wuz caught in a 
train robbery 'bout a year arterward an' sent over 
the road." 

The old man gave a prodigious sigh at this 
juncture and said, in conclusion : 

"In the days o' '49 somethin' serious would ha' 
happened to them fellers. But times had changed 
in '65, an' they've been growin' wuss ever since." 

And we all sorrowed with the Colonel, and 
"liquidated" our sorrow. 

Poor old Bill died a few months ago, at a very 
advanced age. His death was the passing of the 
most characteristic relic of the golden days of '49 


Panama auD tbe Sierras 

that could he found in all Calaveras. How every- 
body loved him, all along the road. Who was 
braver, hardier and more patient? Who so jolly 
and reckless? Who was a better friend, and who 
possessed of all the qualities of good-fellowship 
in a higher degree? 

Bill was not so ''devil may care" as some stage 
drivers I have known. He was an unerring driver, 
but one who never tempted fate. He never tried 
to show how near he could come to the edge of a 
cliff without going over — a fool-hardy trick that 
has cost many a stage-load of innocent passengers 
their lives. Bill used to say that if he was travel- 
ing, he would pick out the driver who could drive 
farthest away from the edge of the cliff and near- 
est the mountain without bumping into it or tip- 
ping over. He practiced as he preached, and never 
lost a passenger. The old man had his faults, and 
put away enough liquor in his day to float the 
Oregon, 'but he never drove stage when he was 
drunk. He would drink for "sosherfcility" at any 
and all times, but never would he transcend the 
bounds of sobriety save when off duty. 

Civilization and the passing of the years are 
slowly but surely exterminating the old-time stage 
driver, but I question much whether the world is 
better for the passing of the type of men repre- 


®lt) S)oc» 5ones 

sented fby Bill Loveless. Brave, honest, rugged, 
faithful and picturesque — ^What more could civili- 
zation ask? 

if^ ¥■ » 

Just opposite the hotel on the main street of 
Murphy's, stands an old stone building that was 
once the office and drugstore of the town oracle, 
"Old Doc. Jones," as his fellow townsmen called 
him. The old doctor, a gruff Scotchman, had the 
field at Murphy's entirely to himself for many, 
^any years. He was an ugly customer and did not 
encourage competition. The only competitor he 
£ver had made a very ephemeral stay in our little 
community. The first case he had was his last. 

An Italian fruit dealer, whom the boys had 
dubbed "Mac," as an abridgement of maccaroni, 
had been rdbbed several times. Becoming tired of 
the excitement, Tie fixed a spring gun in the back 
of his money drawer, so that anyone opening it 
surreptitiously would receive a double load of 
buckshot in his anatomy. Being called upon to 
make change in a hurry one morning, poor Mac. 
forgot the spring gun, and on opening the drawer 
was "hoist by his own petard." A hole was torn 


Panama anD tbe Sierras 

in his 'body which, as one of the boys said, "A cat 
pould crawl through without bloodyin' her whisk- 

The new doctor was called, and, to the intense 
amusement of the crowd that had gathered around 
the dying man, said he had ''cured lots o' cases like 
that one," and would "have Mac. around in a 
week." The bystanders knew a thing or two about 
gunshot wounds, and proceeded to chaff the doc- 
tor unmercifully. Just then Doc. Jones came along 
and pressed his way through the crowd. He took 
the situation in at a glance, and, realizing that the 
time was most propitious for downing com- 
petition, grabbed the interloping doctor by the 
collar and slack of his trousers, ran him to the 
door and kicked him into the middle of the street, 
a proceeding that was hilariously applauded by the 
citizens. He then returned and said to the Italian, 
''Mac, it's all up wi' ye, lad, an' ye ken any prayers, 
noo's the time for ye ta say 'em." 

The old doctor stayed in Murphy's as long as 
there was enough work to warrant his remaining. 
He finally went to Frisco, and built up an immense 
practice. He never forgot his old friends in Cala- 
veras, however, and as long as he lived his time was 
theirs, without money and without price. Many 
of the old miners used to go down to Frisco to 
consult him, and it was said that he would make a 


/ID^ ffitst dbeatre 

millionaire itake a back sea't any day while he cared 
for his rough-and-ready patrons of former years. 
It is the lot of few men to be loved as was good 
old Doc. Jones. Bluff as to manner, antique as to 
methods and by no means a courtier of fashion, he 
was none the less an ornament to the society in 
which he moved in early mining days. Beneath 
his veneer of rugged homeliness lay as kindly a 
heart as ever beat. And he got results that more 
modern practitioners might well envy. His drugs 
were unpalatable, and his knife a merciless one, but 
the old fellow's record was one to be proud of. 
Woe 'be to him who chanced to doubt Do'c. Jones' 
skill in the hearing of the Murphyites. The critic 
usually found himself persona non grata with them 
and Ihad to emigrate. 

4^ >*^ 4^ 

Many of the old buildings in Murphy's were 
destroyed by fire, some years since. I looked in 
vain for the theater of early days, where I first 
made the acquaintance oif the swaggering, barn- 
storming tragedian ,and the wonderful end-man of 
the minstrels. I was on the dead-head list in those 
days, for my ^father owned and managed the thea- 
ter. The theaters of my later years may be more 


Panama an^ tbe Sierras 

pretentious, but none are so beautiful as was that 
rude structure. And the plays! There are no 
such tragedies, no such wonderful minstrels now- 

As I stood upon the site of the old theater I re- 
called one play that had more novel features than 
any modern play within my knowledge. Twas a 
wild, weird, border drama, full of scouts, and 
Indians, and captive maidens. What with burn- 
ings at the stake, scalping and tomahawking, my 
young blood was set a -tingling. 

But some of our 'townspeople were not so well 
pleased as I was. They took exception to the 
histrionic methods of tsome of the performers, and 
proceeded to frankly express their disapproval. 
The means of expression was somewhat unique. 
Several raw, "gamey" livers were procured and cut 
in pieces suitable for target practice. When the 
fake Indians appeared they were received by the 
boys with a fusilade of chunks of the unsavory 
liver that not only disconcerted t'hem, but made 
them lose their tempers. They were armed with 
bows and arrows, and were foolish enough to at- 
tempt to use these ineffective weapons. 

A number of the counterfeit redmen rushed to 
the footlights, bow and arrow in hand, with the 
avowed intention of discharging their weapons at 
the audience! In an instant they were covered 


H SbocftirtQ Cbanae 

by dozens of six-shooters ! Not only were they 
compelled to refrain from their threatened arrow 
practice, but the boys insisted on the play being 
finished. And it was finished in due form, but the 
rest of the engagement of that particular troupe 
was forthwith canceled. Promiscuous shooting 
might have destroyed our theater The scenery 
did not look quite right for some time. The 
painted trees and shrubbery were not carnivorous 
and could not dispose of the pieces of liver. The 
liver looked not unlike some queer variety of fruit 
or flowers. Verily, the drama at Murphy's was 
soul'Stirring. What though it was not esthetic ? 

J^ > > 

^e chattge that the passing of the years had 
wrought in Murphy's was by no means inspiriting 
to me, but the revival of old memories and asso- 
ciations mitigated its effects somewhat, and I 
had settled down to sutystantial enjoyment of my 
visit, when, as Truthful James remarks, "My feel- 
ings was shocked in a way that T grieve." 

The male citizens were gathered, as was their 
custom, in the bar-room of the old hotel, swapping 
lies and listening to the reminiscences of several of 
the old guard of '49. I was in the thick of the 


Panama an& tbe Sierras 

story telling and enjoying myself immensely. The 
social features of the occasion were unexception- 
able, until an altercation arose between two young 
fellows who were playing billiards. The score was 
under dispute and a wordy war developed. 
Neither of the contestant's was distinguished by 
any special gift of repartee, hence the controversy 
was hardly worth recording until both of the dis- 
putants lost their tempers, and then there was 
trouble. Quoth one, "You're a d — d liar I'* 
Whereupon his playmate blithely replied, ''You're 
another, d — n you !" I instinctively waited for the 
shooting to begin, but in vain. The gentle spirits 
went on with their game as if giving and taking 
the lie was an everyday matter. The experience 
broke my heart completely. I had expected a 
change in the town, had found it and become recon- 
ciled. But this was more than I could bear. When 
the party had dispersed I asked for my bill, much 
to the surprise of my old playmate, Mitcheler, the 
hotel proprietor. 

*'Why, say. Doc," said he, "you ain't goin' away, 
are ye?" 

"Yes, old man," I replied, "I am threatened with 
heart failure. There's toO' much excitement here 
for me. When the lie is passed in Murphy's, with 
never a gun play, it's high time for an old resident 
like myself to seek the lower country." 


Copper ZoxQti 

And my friend the host was ashamed, but made 
answer, "Well, say, Doc, the old town ain't what 
it used to be, that's a fact, but, ye know, times have 
changed a whole lot and things ain't just what 
we'd like. We're goin' to have a revival of minin', 
by and (by, an' things'll be livelier an' more like 
old times. You mustn't ilay up anything agin the 
town. We can't have a funeral every time there's 
a row nowadays. Why, we wouldn't ^have any cit- 
izens in less'n a ,week." 

But I refused to be consoled, and the morning 
stage took me away from' Murphy's, perhaps for- 

At ii y 

I had supposed there was nothing more for me 
to learn regarding California stage roads. I was 
mistaken, however. Copperopolis, Calaveras 
county, my next stopping place after leaving Mur- 
phy's, is only twenty-three miles from the latter 
town, yet stage connections were such that I was 
compelled to ride forty-nine weary miles to get to 
my destination. Verily, he who hath tackled a 
California stage road in the moist and gentle 
springtime, the same !hath a tender memory. 

Copperopolis is, if possible, deader than some of 
the old gold mining towns. Its copper mines were 


IPanama auD tbc Sierras 

then lying" Idle, and, taken all in all, it 'had a 
stronger "has been" flavor than any of the moun- 
tain towns that I !had visited. The town is re- 
deemed somewhat 'by the valuable Royal gold mine 
at Pine Log, four miles away, but nothing short of 
a 1,500-volt s'hock will ever make it up. 

The road from Copper to Milton, 'tfhe nearest 
station on the Sierra Railway, lies through a very 
delightful country. Gne of the prettiest spots is 
Salt Spring Valley. Viewed in the early spring, 
the ranches in this valley present a most beautiful 

The road leaves the mountains abruptly, and 
just before Milton is reached traverses the side of 
a steep hill, from v^hicli one can see a perfect pano- 
rama of fertile plain and rolling land dotted with 
picturesque and peaceful towns, and, on the distant 
horizon, the coast range. On clear days the city 
of Stockton may be seen, dim and shadowy, many, 
many miles aiway. 

> *^ > 

Frisco again, a farewell visit to Chinatown — 
"You allee samee come back some time" — then all 
aboard for home. 

How dreary the line of the Southern Pacific 
after the glorious Sacramento Valley is left behind 


Some jFamou6 Bipe^0 

and the desert land of Caiifornia is reached. One 
can hardly believe it possible that he is still in 
California. The monotony is broken somewhat 
by a short stop-over in Los Angeles and Pasa- 
dena, and by the subsequent view of Redlands, 
Riverside and other towns in the midst of the 
dreary waste, whose very names make one's lungs 
feel a bit queer. 

Apropos of Pasadena, I, of course, visited the 
ostrich farm, and was highly edified thereby. It is 
quite an honor to be introduced to the "first fami- 
lies" among the ostriches. My guide and sponsor 
was not only of the earth, earthy, but devoid, ap- 
parently, of all sense of humor. The introductions 
were in this wise : 

"This is Mr. and Mrs. Robert Fitzsimmons." 
"Ah," said I, "very glad to meet you, Fitzy, old 
boy. But what's the matter with your head, 
Robert? You seem to be getting bald?" 

Fitzy glanced at Mrs. Fitzsimmons out of the 
corner of his eye, with an expression that showed 
only too plainly who was boss of the coop, and 
then reached for me with as much vigor as the 
distinguished gentleman after whom he was named 
might have done. I managed to prevent him from 
stepping on my solar plexus and passed on to the 
next coop. This proved to be the home of "Mr. and 
Mrs. William McKinley." The president was just 


IPanama an^ tbe Sierras 

proving the courage of his convictions as an ex- 
pansionist, by trying to swallow Mrs. McKinley's 
foot. I noted with some solicitude that a Filipino 
blackbird was at the same time plucking feathers 
from Mr. McKinley's neck, for the purpose of 
building a nest for himself. I am not a politician, 
hence pass this incident without comment. 

"This is Mr. and Mrs. Lillian Russell," quoth the 

''Beg pardon, but did you say, 'Mr. Lillian Rus- 

"Yes, Mr. Lillian Russell." 

"Ah," I said, "a composite, I presume, and of a 
truth, *a bird.' But why don't you call him by his 
maiden name?" 

"And what mav that be, sir?" 

*'K Pluribus Unum." 

And there was silence — a silence that was broken 
only when the coop of "Mr. James J. Corbett" was 
reached, and I murmured the usual conventionali- 
ties over his cordial foot-clasp. 

Having left behind us that portion of Southern 
California where climate is all, we are again in the 
midst of a vast desert. Fauna, the jack-rabbit — 
the kangaroo of the prairie — rthe prairie dog and 
rattlesnake. Flora, the cactus, cacti, more cactus, 
more cacti and sage brush. The most pathetic 
sight I ever saw was a jack-rabbit racing parallel 


Sociable JacRs 

with the train and more than holding his own. 
Some of the passengers thought he was guying us 
— a jack-rabbit winks with his ears — ^but they were 
in error. He was merely out in search of a green 
leaf for breakfast, and was bound for the east. 
The nearest green grass was in eastern Texas. It 
is quite the thing for the Texas cotton-tails to ask 
the Arizona jacks to breakfast with them. It's a 
"ground-ihog case," and as Mr. Jack need not be 
away from home for more than an hour or two, he 
dines out very often. My, how those "narrow- 
gauge mules" can run ! Our engineer must have 
felt the jack's superiority most keenly, for some- 
thing blew up on the engine and I was called to 
minister to sundry scalds on both engineer and 
fireman. Which the same it is true, and not lit- 
erary license. 

What a vast number of "thriving towns" may. 
be seen upon the maps of the Southern Pacific. 
The road is dotted with them until it looks like 
a string of micrococci. To be sure, the passen- 
gers see only telegraph poles ,with euphonious, 
high-sounding town names upon them, but one 
must go by the maps, willy, nilly. The railroad 
company should know. 

How beautiful the green prairies of Illinois 
seemed that bright June morning of my return. 
And why shouldn't they? One might anticipate 


Panama ant) tbe Sierras 

picking magnolias in Hades, after a ride on the 
Southern Pacific. And Chicago — why, the place 
really seemed clean and cheerful! Which sug- 
gests that a vacation inflames the imaginative 

i^ *^ *^ 

My appendix? Oh, yes, I had forgotten. Why 
shouldn't this book have an appendix? To be 
sure, I have none, but — 

It will be remembered that the trip which is re- 
sponsible for this volume was taken under protest* 
I fled to escape the persecution of my brother sur- 
geons, who were frantically reaching for mine ap- 
pendix. Well, they were solidly organized into 
batallions when I arrived home. But, having al- 
ready had a taste of my retreating powers, they 
were more diplo'matic than ol yore, and tried arbi- 
tration. Various committees waited upon me, day 
after day, and strove with me in this wise : 

*'Now, my dear fellow, you must be operated on 
at once. You are sure to have another attack, and 
it might kill you, you know. Besides, the honor of 
the profession demands it. You should have the 
courage of your convictions. Think of the demor- 
alizing effect of your conservatism upon prospec- 
tive patients. Why, it will be something awful! 
For heaven's sake, doctor, don't be obdurate!" 


TKHbicb iB Bitterent 

And the spokesman of each committee was wont 
to drop a hypothetic tear upon my presumptive 
grave, to encourage the phantasmagoric grass and 
weeping willows, I presume. And then I begfan my 
little speech in reply : 

"Gentlemen of this most touching committee: 
It is true, as you say, that I may have another at- 
tack of appendicitis, but which of you is offering 
odds? Hath it come to pass that the delectable 
"cinch" hath permeated appendiceal surgery? If 
so, when, how, what, where, why and by whom ? 
Honor of the profession, did you say ? Ah, there 
you touch me near mine heart. I could almost 
listen to such argument as that. But, no, get thee 
behind me, Satan ! Ill have none of thee, and be- 
shrew thine honor! Gentlemen, I mind me well 
my duty. Patients should be encouraged. I have 
had a vacation, and mine office is a dreary waste. 
Yet will I not encourage them by setting a painful 
example. Why, confound you fellows, anyhow ! 
Do you know whose appendix you are talking 
about. It's mine, gentlemen, mine ! Get out of 
here, or I'll — " And they fled incontinently. 
Which shows the difiference between faith and 

But my surgeon friends were not to be dis- 
suaded. Arbitration having failed, they again tried 
systematic persecution. They snubbed me, they 


IPanama anb tbe Sierras 

Ignored me, they no longer called me in counsel. 
My life was miserable indeed, so miserable that my 
nervous system at last gave way under the strain 
and I again fled from home. I went to New York, 
and on my arrival telegraphed to Oom Paul a 
tender of my services as the "whole thing," surgi- 
cal, in his army. He answered in this wise : 

"Mynheer: — We have some fellows over here 
whose kopjes are just as much geswellen as yours, 
so don't make the trek. If you want a good 
laager, try Milwaukee. OOM PAUL." 

This was awful. The very idea of a foreign po- 
tentate declining the services of an American sur- 
geon! ril never speak to Oom Paul again. 

I knew not where to turn, and had about decided 
to buy a gun, go home, and annihilate the entire 
surgical fraternity. Before leaving, however, I 
called upon a friend of mine who runs a "remove 
your appendix while you -wait" clinic. He is a 
very conservative man. He never removes the ap- 
pendix — until he gets a patient. I felt that I could 
trust him, so I told him all my sorrows, and de- 
scribed the persecutions to which my brethren at 
home had subjected me. He sympathized with me 
so manifestly that I let him put me on his table 
and examine me. At the conclusion of the exami- 
nation he informed me 'that my appendix was 


Exeunt /Ebiue HppenDix 

shaped like a string of frankfurters. And then, 
just to prove his point, my humorous friend gave 
me laughing gas, and ether, and chloroform and 
things, and pulled the old thing out. 

Which is why my surgeon friends at home, who 
wanted to cut me alive, now cut me dead, wink at 
each other, and say, "1 told you so." That's bad, 
but I can sleep o' nights now. And I can ride on 
the street cars without having some fellow yell 
from the other end of the car, "Say, old man, had 
it out yet?" And nobody sends me marked arti- 
cles on appendicitis — ^not any more. 

And the appendix which did not finish me, but 
was of this book the beginning, the same shall be 
of this book —